Santi Cazorla says Arsenal have discovered the consistency of champions, but they must keep hold of Hector Bellerin if they are to win the Premier League.
The Gunners have seen a host of title challenges fizzle out in recent years, perhaps none more disappointing than last season’s capitulation, which allowed Leicester City to secure a fairytale success.
A 3-2 victory over Swansea City with 10 men on Saturday moved Arsene Wenger’s side level on points with early pace-setters Manchester City after eight games.
And Cazorla believes his team-mates have learned their lesson for the current campaign.
“We have started the season in a good way,” Cazorla told IBTimes.
“We are having a good run but it is a very long season. We have to go step by step. It is clear that we want to fight [for the title].
“We have always said we needed to give a step forward. We have started well and we are being more consistent. That’s what we lacked in previous seasons.”
The likes of Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie have all left the Emirates at the peak of their powers over the past decade, seemingly stunting the Gunners’ title chances.
And Cazorla feels the same cannot be allowed to happen with Bellerin, as Manchester City and Barcelona reportedly circle the former La Masia man.
“It is clear that Hector is the right-back of the future,” Cazorla said.
“You could see in the victory over Swansea how good he is. He was all over the place and never stopped running.
“For Arsenal it would be a mistake to let him go.
“It is obvious that many teams want him. There has been talk about Manchester City and Barcelona.
“He is a player with great potential and I am sure he will also be a key part of the future of the Spanish national team.”