Arsenal have quality to challenge for titles insists Wojciech Szczesny

 

Wojciech Szczesny claims "the quality is there" for Arsenal to challenge for Europe's top honours again next season.

The Gunners still have some work to do over the final three games of the Barclays Premier League to make sure of third place ahead of Newcastle, starting at Stoke this weekend.

Nevertheless, just to be in this position is an achievement in itself given the appalling start to the campaign, which saw Arsene Wenger's men slump as low as 17th after four defeats in the opening seven matches.

The Gunners put together a run of seven straight wins to drag themselves back up into the top four, and Szczesny accepts it will take similar performances on a weekly basis if Arsenal are to match the achievements of Chelsea by reaching the Champions League final again and also mount a sustained assault on the domestic title.

"I think the quality is there. We all know it - we have the quality to fight for trophies in Europe and this country," the Poland goalkeeper said.

"It is just consistency that has been a bit of a problem for us this year.

"But the team is getting more experienced and hopefully we have got the experience to win trophies next year."

Szczesny added: "If you look over the last couple of months we are probably one of the best teams in the Premier League.

"We have got three games to go and we need to win all three and we will finish third."

Arsenal have been hit by injuries in the past couple of games, with Theo Walcott joining Mikel Arteta in the treatment room after hobbling out of last Saturday's goalless draw against Chelsea because of a hamstring problem.

Initially Wenger had ruled the England winger out of the remainder of the season, but it is understood scans have revealed the problem is not major and Walcott could even be in contention for the final Premier League game on May 13.

As well as aiming to finalise a new deal for captain Robin van Persie this summer, Wenger is expected to be busy in the transfer market.

A £10million move for German striker Lukas Podolski from Cologne is expected to be rubber-stamped soon after the end of the season.

Arsenal also have to decide on the futures of several fringe players, like goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, Denilson as well as strikers Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela, while Yossi Benayoun's loan from Chelsea could be made permanent.

Midfielder Denilson has been on loan at former club Sao Paulo, but reports in Brazil suggest he will return to Emirates Stadium, while a decision must also be made about Mexican Vela, who has been in decent form at Real Sociedad.

Bendtner, however, has indicated he does not want to play for Arsenal again when his temporary switch to Sunderland comes to an end.

Speaking to Sporten.tv2.dk, the Denmark forward said: "Never say never about Sunderland, but it is not certain I will be there even if the opportunity arises.

"About Arsenal. Of course I will have to have a talk with the club about it [my future], but it is not where my first priority is going to be. I think I have been pretty clear about it."

"I am not concentrating too much on my future just yet.

"I play the Euros first and so I will think about my future after that."

PA

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