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‘Arsenal Have Squad To Challenge For EPL Title This Season’ —Vieira

‘Arsenal Have Squad To Challenge For EPL Title This Season’  —Vieira

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira believes Arsenal possess the squad to challenge for the Premier League title this season.

Arsenal and Vieira’s Crystal Palace will open the new English topflight campaign at Selhurst Park on Friday.

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The Gunners are boosted going into the new campaign following the signing of Gabriel Jesus, Fabio Vieira, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Marquinhos and Matt Turner.

And former Arsenal skipper, Vieira, has backed Mikel Arteta’s side to be a side to reckon with this term.

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“It will be a completely different game,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “I think with the new players they have in the squad of course they are a better team. They had really good games during the pre-season.

“I think they’re in a better place than last year. The new players they’ve brought in, they are much stronger. They have the squad to challenge and be closer to the title.

“We know that it is going to be challenging but I believe that we have the tools to make it difficult for them, to make it challenging for them. Last year at home with the support we had we had some really good matches, and it will be important to keep it that way.”

But Vieira stressed he feels Arsenal aren’t the only side to have changed, with Palace welcoming four new recruits over summer. He said development is the aim for 22/23, and that the south Londoners can be better than they were in the last campaign.

“I believe we can be even more competitive than we were last year,” he said. “The game tomorrow will be important for us to start as well as we can.

Also Read: Shearer: Why Man City Will Retain EPL Title

“What was really important for us and for me is to keep that stability and try to improve the squad. A couple of players came on [board] and that will give us more challenges because what we want is players to make it difficult for me to choose the starting XI.

“A good season would be to improve ourselves on last year. Players, individually and collectively, we want to be in a better place, play better football, be more competitive. That has to be the challenge for us. We have to raise the bar and be more demanding on ourselves to be more competitive.

“I don’t think the pressure will be more on their side than our side. We’re at home, want to do well and want to compete. It’s the first game of the season so both teams will compete to win the game. We will play with a lot of determination, desire, compete as best we can and of course try to win the game.”

Meanwhile, Palace will be without a couple of players for the league opener.

And sharing a fitness update ahead of the game with Arsenal, Vieira said:“Macca [James McArthur] will not be a part of the squad tomorrow. Tonks [James Tomkins] has an issue with his calf so won’t get involved tomorrow. Michael [Olise] is a couple of weeks away.”

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