By Chris Harris

Vito Mannone is convinced Arsenal will challenge strongly for the title this season.

The Italian goalkeeper has helped Arsène Wenger's side make a solid start to their campaign with just one defeat in the opening seven matches.

Arsenal are seven points adrift of leaders Chelsea but just three behind the Manchester clubs despite a tough schedule that has already seen them travel to Man City, Liverpool and Stoke City.

Mannone has taken heart from the past two months of Premier League football and expects Arsenal to be there or thereabouts next May.

"I am pleased with our start to the season," he told Arsenal Player. "The team is doing great, we had [many of] the big games already.

"It's not easy because every game in the Premier League and Champions League is a big game for this club, so you need to have the right standard and you need to prove to everybody what you've got.

"We had a few good wins and a few draws away, and not many other teams will get draws at Man City or a win at West Ham. It is not easy to win at Liverpool, as well. I think we have started the Champions League well too, the team has got a good base to kick on from. I am looking forward to some big achievements.

"We have a good solid squad and I think we can go for it," he added. "I have no doubt that if we keep our focus and we keep our mentality, it's not a doubt that we are going to challenge for the title.

"This is a club that is made for victories, it's not a club that just wants to do well and get the third or fourth place. This club wants to win trophies and I wish that I can give my help for this team to do it."

Arsenal went into the current international break off the back of an impressive win at West Ham. The next challenge is at Norwich on Saturday - and Mannone expects an equally tough assignment.

"It was very important [to win at West Ham] because we bounced back from the home loss to Chelsea," he said. "We did really well in two difficult games, one in the Champions League against Olympiacos and then West Ham away. That [West Ham] is a really difficult game because it is very physical and I thought we came out with a really good win.

"It is great for our confidence [to come from behind and win], the spirit in this team is great. It was great before but after the Chelsea defeat we felt a bit like we needed to come back and come back strongly. We managed to do it with two good games and we are looking forward for more wins.

"Norwich is another team that plays really well, especially at home. It is not an easy one, again, I would compare it to West Ham. It will be a difficult test for us, we need to dictate the game and impose ourselves. If we let them do what they know, it will be a difficult game.

"We need to stand up, defend well as we have been doing - that is always our base I think. From there we have massive quality up front and we can win the game."

Watch the full interview with Vito on Arsenal Player.

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16 Oct 2012