MIKEL ARTETA claims he is leading Arsenal to the next level as they kick off the new Premier League season tonight.
Arteta knows that nothing less than Champions League qualification will be enough after his team surrendered a top-four place to bitter rivals Spurs in the final week of last season.
Ahead of facing Crystal Palace, Arteta said: “I am convinced that we are ready to go to a different level. It’s obvious what the teams who finished above us are doing.
“They already had much stronger squads than we had and some of them have still recruited six or seven players.
“So it’s not going to get any easier for us and all we can do is focus on what we can achieve, because we cannot do everything at the same time.
“But we are confident that we’re going to be able to do it and we are all enthusiastic for the new season.
“We have had the pre-season that we wanted with good results but now the ball starts rolling in a completely different context against a Premier League opponent.
“We are playing with a level of energy and ambition to have a successful season and now we have to show that on the pitch against Palace.”
Arteta also hinted that he has not finished his summer spending yet and said: “You can see that we are really active with incomings and outgoings.
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“It’s a long transfer window and a lot has already happened. Some players are going to need to leave and everything is still open.
“It’s incredible how much business the clubs have done across the Premier League and that shows how competitive this season is going to be.”
Palace boss Patrick Vieira reckons Arsenal have taken a huge step closer to being title challengers.
He said: “They are in a better place than they were last year. You look at the players they bring into the team, they are much stronger.
“They have the squad to challenge to be much closer to the title. It will be a completely different game [compared to last season].”