Wenger sends out a warning

13 August 2012 12:16

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned the rest of the Barclays Premier League title challengers his strengthened squad will be "up for it" again next season.

The Gunners ended their warm-up schedule with a 4-0 win at Cologne, where summer signing Lukas Podolski scored twice. While the future of Robin van Persie has yet to be resolved, Wenger insists the new additions - which also include Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla - means the Gunners will be capable of a more consistent challenge.

"We want to (compete for honours) and we have a desire to. We are up for it and what we want is to come out of the season and know we have given our best," Wenger said on Arsenal Player.

"I feel we did that last year, finishing third with the start we had. The first target is to do as well as we can in every single game and see where we stand at the end of the season, but of course we want to fight for the championship."

Wenger added: "We are in a much stronger position now because last summer we lost (Samir) Nasri and (Cesc) Fabregas, and on top of that we lost (Abou) Diaby and Wilshere (to injury). We lost four players at the start of last season and that is not the case this time."

Podolski could emerge as the Gunners main goal threat should their skipper Van Perise move ahead of the transfer deadline, and the German international admits he is relishing life at his new club.

"I have felt like a part of Arsenal from the first day and I am very proud to play here and wear the shirt," he said.

"It was a great match and in my first game I scored two goals, so it was very good.

"It was a good test for us and I hope we can win against Sunderland next week."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has, meanwhile, returned to Arsenal for treatment on an ankle injury after reporting for international duty with England ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Italy in Berne.

Source: PA