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Arteta is all fired up for Arsenal charge

CAPTAIN Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal now have the forward firepower to mount a long-overdue sustained assault on the Premier League title.

The manner in which the FA Cup winners saw off defending champions Manchester City in the Community Shield, albeit against a makeshift side, at Wembley has given hope Arsene Wenger's men can finally last the distance through to May 2015 for what would be a first championship in more than a decade.

Wenger strengthened the Arsenal squad with the £30million summer addition of Chile forward Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona, while the arrival of France international Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle offset the loss of Bacary Sagna, who joined City on a free transfer.

Add to that the raw talents of Joel Campbell, the Costa Rica forward back from a loan spell at Olympiacos, and Yaya Sanogo, who netted four against Benfica in the Emirates Cup, as well as the imminent return of England forward Theo Walcott from his knee injury and the Gunners will certainly have plenty of frontline ammunition.

"Attacking-wise this season, we are going to be more different and we are going to have more of a surprise factor," Arteta said.

"(Alexis) looks very good. He has got pace, that special technique, his feet are so, so quick.

"He is a bit cheeky on the pitch, and got those runs, that movement, is always on the shoulder of a defender and he wants to score goals," he added.

"Alexis has the right attitude here - very humble.

"He is going to do well - I think the fans are very excited and I think they are right because we have signed some player here."

Arteta, appointed as permanent club captain following the sale of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona, added: "I am very impressed with Joel (Campbell). He's got great feet, great technique, is very creative and he's a young lad who is full of energy and is enthusiastic."

Wenger indicated he would like to bring in another defender to cover Vermaelen's departure, the Belgian international heading to the Nou Camp for more first-team opportunities.

Arsenal have been linked with the likes of Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes, Wolfsburg defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo, Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho and Greek international Kostas Manolas.

Calum Chambers joined in a £16million deal from Southampton earlier in the summer and the 19-year-old has produced some consistent displays during pre-season.

Arteta is confident there is more to come.

"I am impressed by Calum's character, by how quickly he is adapting and how secure he is when he plays," said the Spaniard.


German World Cup-winning trio Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil have all returned to Arsenal's Hertfordshire training base.

However, they are unlikely to be considered for the Gunners' Premier League opener at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday, with the first leg of the Champions League play-off against Besiktas in Istanbul next week a possibility.

Walcott, who missed the World Cup after suffering a serious knee problem in the FA Cup win over Tottenham in January, and Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina, signed from Nice in the summer, have not been included in Arsenal's UEFA squad list for the tie as they continue their respective recoveries from injury.