LONDON, May 27 — Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta warned his side will face even stiffer competition next season as they bid to win a first Premier League title since 2004.
The Gunners topped the table for most of this season, but stumbled down the final stretch to allow Manchester City to retain their crown.
On top of the challenge of dethroning City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Saudi-backed Newcastle are aiming to come back stronger next season.
“The competition is going to be even harder next season,” said Arteta. “In my opinion it’s been the hardest this season in 22 years that I’ve been in this league.
“In order to (compete) we have a really promising plan. We have to reflect a little bit, take a step back, make sure this is the right one and go again with more determination and hunger in the tummies to do even better.”
Despite the disappointment of missing out on the title, Arteta is keen to give the Arsenal fans something to celebrate in their final game of the season against Wolves on Sunday.
Rival fans have ridiculed the lack of atmosphere at the Emirates over many years but the enthusiasm generated by Arteta’s young side has brought the stadium to life this season.
Late winners at home to Bournemouth and Manchester United provoked wild scenes of celebration when it seemed a long wait to win the title may be coming to an end.
“(We) received a lot of incredible energy they have given us throughout the season,” said Arteta. “We have to wrap it up in the best possible way. It’s been some journey, full of emotions.
“Looking with a bit of perspective, there’s a lot of things not only on the field that have happened at the club that deserve a lot of credit for a lot of people.
“We have to nail everything that we do, we have to seek excellence in everything that we touch.” — AFP