London: Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal’s title rivals that his resurgent side are finally strong enough to end the club’s 12-year wait to win the Premier League.

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger

Wenger’s team kick off the new campaign against West Ham today and the mood at the Emirates Stadium will be one of unbridled optimism in the aftermath of a pair of Wembley victories that are being hailed around north London as the foundations of a sustained title challenge.

Asked on the eve of the new season if he feels Arsenal can win the title for the first time since 2004, the usually conservative Wenger cast caution to the wind as he said: “I believe yes, all going well, and us maintaining our game.That’s important as well that we develop what we do well and do not stand still. That means we develop our cohesion, our passing game.

“If we are capable to keep the cohesion and the solidarity we have at the moment through the 38 games, we have a good chance.” Wenger did concede that Chelsea will start as the title favourites and the Frenchman highlighted the importance of making a strong start after spluttering early form left them out of the race well before Christmas last season.

“Chelsea won it by a margin last year so they are the favourites,” he said. “After that let’s see how it goes. After 15 games you will know more about that. “Last year after 12 games we were 15 points behind Chelsea, and in the next 26 we took 58 points and Chelsea 55, so that means we missed our start to the season because it was after the World Cup.

“So let’s start strong this season and I believe we have the needed ingredients.” Meanwhile, West Ham open their campaign looking to erase the embarrassment of their humbling Europa League qualifying exit at the hands of Romanian side Astra Giurgiu on Thursday.