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Watch Hull City 1-3 Arsenal match highlights [VIDEO]

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Santi Cazorla believes Arsenal's current form shows they have to be considered contenders for the Barclays Premier League title next season.

A 3-1 win at Hull on Monday night saw Arsenal back in the wins column after last week's goalless draw with newly-crowned champions Chelsea halted a run of six straight in the league.

Their form makes them clear favorites to defend the FA Cup when they face Aston Villa in the final at the end of the month, but they are on course for second place as Chelsea's closest challengers.

"Of course we want to win the title next year, but second place this season is for now the most important thing," Cazorla said on Sky Sports 1. "We want to finish in the Champions League places and win the FA Cup final."

Cazorla had another outstanding personal evening, driving Arsenal forward and setting up Aaron Ramsey for the second goal of the night.

"I enjoy it a lot when we play here, but the most important thing is the victory," he said. "The team is in a good moment and we want to keep this level up until the end of the season."

The result saw Arsenal move past 100 goals for the season in all competitions, and Hector Bellerin hailed the creativity of Arsene Wenger's side.

"It shows that the team has capacity to score goals, we have creativity and top players up front," he said.

"But the team defends really well as well. The attacks start from the goalkeeper to the striker and as a team we are really creative."

Wenger echoed Cazorla's belief that they can challenge for the title next season.

"I'm always optimistic," he said. "In our job, if you are pessimistic you don't go far. I feel that we have made progress.

"Chelsea are worthy winners this season because they have been the most consistent team of all. Let's finish the season well, prepare well for next season and give them a good fight."

The Frenchman admitted his frustration that such form eluded Arsenal in the first half of the season, preventing them from mounting a proper challenge this time around.

"Of course," he said. "But all of these players were not available at the start of the season. Many came back with problems after the World Cup.

"We maybe found a better balance between going forward and defending in the second half of the season."

For Hull, the result sees them down in 17th place, outside the drop zone by a single point.

With goal difference potentially crucial in the tight battle at the bottom, manager Steve Bruce admitted it became a case of damage limitation in the second half.

"One thing we wanted to do in the second half is make sure it's not one of those ridiculously horrible evenings," he said. "We stuck at it in difficult circumstances.

"You're torn. You want to chase the game and make an impression but you don't want to leave yourselves wide open."

Hull face fellow strugglers Burnley next in a huge game at the bottom.

"It's not going to keep us up or send us down," Bruce said of the match. "But we've still got it all to do. It's a big game. We're aware of that so a result would be good."

Mobile app users, watch the video highlights.

 

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