Santi Cazorla: ‘Arsenal can challenge for Champions League and EPL’

London (Neo Web Desk) A big criticism of Arsenal in recent years is that the English Premier League club crumbles in the biggest games.Failure to beat major rivals in crunch clashes has left Arsene Wenger’s side without a domestic championship since 2004, while the Gunners have not gone past the second round of the UEFA Champions League for the past five seasons.But that is about to change, according to the London team’s Spanish midfield maestro Santi Cazorla.”I don’t think we are inferior to the Spanish clubs or Bayern Munich. It’s true that they are very powerful teams and it is very difficult to compete with them,” Cazorla told CNN ahead of the new Premier League season, which kicks off this weekend.”In recent years they have all won the Champions League and are favorites when they face English teams.”But I think we are very strong too and can be at that level next season.”Arsenal begins its 2015-16 campaign at home to West Ham on Sunday, buoyed by a rare victory over Premier League champion Chelsea in last weekend’s Community Shield curtain-raiser.Wenger’s men lost just twice in the last 18 league games of last season, which saw them climb from sixth to third but still finish 12 points behind Chelsea, while they also successfully defended the FA Cup.”We need to play to the same level that we were at for the second half of the season,” Cazorla said. “We need to be at that level if we want to dispose of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.”We need to be there to fight for the title, and regularly maintaining a high level is something that we have lacked, but the second part of the season proves that we can do it.”Sat in a small room overlooking the Emirates’ impeccable pitch, Cazorla’s smile and charisma are infectious. When he tells you Arsenal will be competing domestically and internationally next season, you can’t help but believe him.The team’s improved showing during the last campaign was thanks largely in part to one of Wenger’s marquee signings.”Extremely energetic, contagious enthusiasm and very ambitious.”No prizes for guessing which Arsenal player Cazorla is talking about.

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