Per Mertesacker
Per Mertesacker is hoping for some luck on the injury front for Arsenal this term

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker believes the club have a base of players good enough to challenge for the Premier League title.

The Gunners have won back-to-back FA Cups in the past two seasons, but have not been able to mount a serious challenge for the domestic crown over a 10-month campaign.

Mertesacker believes that could change this term though, with the first team squad looking in good shape after victories against a Singapore Select XI and Everton during the pre-season tour of Asia. If key players do not leave during the transfer window, as the centre-back suggests, then this could be the start of something special.

"We have a good structure and a good base. We'll try to build on that. We have a good squad, we won't lose key players, so that's good consistency," he told Arsenal Player.

"The squad will be in a good mood and in good fitness. We have to be because there are plenty of competitors for the title. We need to be at our best. We've shown in the cup that we can be consistent for six games. We want to extend that and show that we are real title contenders from the start, not only in the second half of the season."

Arsene Wenger's side picked up more points in 2015 than any other team in the English top flight, but paid the price for a sluggish start at the Emirates Stadium. They ultimately finished third, 12 points behind champions Chelsea and four behind second-placed Manchester City.

For things to be different this time around, Mertesacker knows both he and his Arsenal teammates will need to make a fast start. The former Werder Bremen star is also hoping for some luck on the injury front after another season that saw several key players spend time on the treatment table.

"We want to be ready right from the start and not get as many injuries as last season. That would be lovely and good for us," he added.

"The belief is still there – we always had a certain belief in ourselves – and to win trophies back to back is something special, but let's add that little extra to be a competitor for the whole season."

Mertesacker and company will continue their preparations for the season with Emirates Cup matches against Lyon and Wolfsburg, before facing Chelsea in the FA Community Shield at Wembley on 2 August.

Arsenal begin the new Premier League season the following week, welcoming West Ham to North London on 9 August.