thumbnail Hello,

German international believes the Gunners are in far better shape for the campaign ahead than at this stage last year and feels Lukas Podolski will have no problems settling in.

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker believes the club is a lot stronger this year than it was at the start of the last season.

The Gunners lost skipper Cesc Fabregas and influential midfielder Samir Nasri last August which disrupted their preparations for their campaign.

However, after signing Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and so far retaining the services of Robin van Persie, Mertesacker believes Arsene Wenger’s side is in good shape for the Premier League opener against Sunderland.

“I think we have a better situation than last year,” he told the club’s official website. “The team is full of characters, good players and every position [has competition]. So I am looking forward to the season because I think we can show the potential we have in a better way than last year.

"We need good signings and I feel that these players will help us a lot. Giroud is a good striker and I have seen a lot of him in training because he was not out in Asia, so we trained a lot together. He made a good effort and hopefully in the games he will show that as well. Santi Cazorla has just signed so we will see him in training and in games in the short term.”

The German international believes his national teammate Podolski has had no problems settling at the Emirates and feels he is set to have a successful debut season in the Premier League.

“I try to do my very best [to help him settle],” said the defender. “I had the same thing last year and it is good to have a lot of help in your first moments in a new city with a new language. It is good to have some German friends around you.

“But the Club is doing well also. You have a lot of people who have been very helpful from the beginning. Everything is going fine for him and I am very happy that he is here to give his best for Arsenal. From the beginning he was confident about speaking English. He is a confident guy with more than 100 caps for Germany, so he has massive experience. For us to have him here is a massive impact.”

Follow GOAL.COM USA on