Jack Wilshere demands better start from Arsenal next season

The Gunners finished the campaign strongly but had no hope of claiming the title

Jack Wilshere has warned Arsenal cannot afford another slow start next season if they are to mount a sustained challenge for the Barclays Premier League title.

The Gunners ended the campaign in strong form, recovering from defeat at Tottenham in March to beat Bayern Munich away and then win eight from the last 10 league games as they battled back to clinch fourth spot ahead of their north-London rivals - and with it another shot at Champions League football.

By contrast, Arsenal had secured only four victories from the opening 10 matches - which included defeats at Chelsea, Norwich and Manchester United. Indeed, Arsene Wenger's side dropped as low as 10th place when they were beaten at home by Swansea on December 1.

Wilshere, 21, knows it is a scenario which cannot be repeated if Arsenal are serious about lasting the distance in 2013/14.

"The games earlier on don't decide our season but we have got to think that we have to win them, because that is what champions do," Wilshere, who is set for ankle surgery which will rule him out of England's friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil, said in an interview with Arsenal Player.

"The likes of Manchester United go away and win games and leave you thinking, 'they keep winning and winning' and at the end of the season the points tally shows that.

"That is what we have to do [to challenge for the title]."

Wilshere feels Arsenal must step up their form in the head-to-head against their direct rivals, having lost both at home and away to Chelsea, been beaten at the Emirates Stadium by Manchester City and having drawn with United when they came to north London just after being crowned champions.

"We also have to improve our record against the big teams," the England man said.

"It has not been great this season and if you want to become champions you have to beat those sides."

To help facilitate closing the gap on United, City and Chelsea, Arsenal are expected to significantly bolster their squad this summer as Wenger finally dips into his £100million war chest, set to be backed up by new lucrative marketing deals.

The club are also set to get Andrey Arshavin, Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson, Sebastien Squillaci and Korean forward Park Chu-young all off the wage bill.

However, Gremio have suggested they are unlikely to take up a permanent deal for Andre Santos, who is currently on loan back in Brazil.

France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo, on a free from Auxerre, will be the first of several new arrivals.

While Wenger is understood to have targeted offensive additions this summer, Arsenal are set to face stiff competition for prime targets - with Fiorentina's Stevan Jovetic and Real Madrid frontman Gonzalo Higuain both also of interest to Juventus.

The future of captain Thomas Vermaelen, meanwhile, is uncertain after the Belgian defender found himself relegated to the bench over the closing weeks of the season, and could now look to secure first-team football elsewhere to protect his World Cup dream.

Full-back Bacary Sagna has yet to agree a contract extension and has been linked with Paris St Germain.

Swansea's Ashley Williams and Borussia Dortmund defender Lukasz Piszczek are two reported targets should Wenger decide to overhaul the rearguard again in the summer.

Arsenal has also been suggested as a possible destination for Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who is set to leave relegated QPR.

Gunners stopper Lukasz Fabianski, though, feels he has shown more than enough quality to challenge fellow Pole Wojciech Szczesny for the number one jersey, having impressed when recalled to the side with consecutive clean sheets in the wins over Bayern Munich and Swansea.

The 28-year-old said to the club's official website, http://www.arsenal.com: "It is just about focus, being vocal, being ready, being switched on and stuff like that. I know that with my abilities, I will be good.

"Maybe that's the way the boss sees it now, that I went through a total mental transformation.

"I know what I am capable of. I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses and I know how to deal with it so that's the main thing for me."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago