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2012-10-05T07:00:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:50:12

Guy going for glory

Guy Demel has already achieved a lot during his career, but West Ham United's right-back is eyeing another successful season in 2012/13.

The No20 won the Bundesliga title with German giants Borussia Dortmund and appeared for Ivory Coast at two FIFA World Cup finals.

Now firing on all cylinders after an injury-affected first season with the Hammers, Demel is looking forward to achieving great things with club and country over the next few months.

The 31-year-old, who spent a year with Arsenal as a teenager, is aiming to get one over his old employers on Saturday before turning his attention to international matters. Ivory Coast hold a 4-2 advantage over Senegal after the first leg of their CAF Cup of Nations final-round qualifier, with the return game set for 13 October in Dakar.

He may have already been there and done it in a footballing sense, but Demel is hungry to enjoy more success.

"I don't know if we can talk already about making a great start at West Ham but we are following the process to meet our goals and right now everything is good," he told West Ham TV. "We're happy with the situation.

"I try to give my best in every game and every day in training. The most important thing for me is to stay fit because when you are fit you can compete and you can play and help your team. I'm really happy to be part of things.

"We worked hard during the pre-season and I feel there is a really good spirit in the team. I think it is more about the work we have done off the pitch that has helped me to understand my team-mates better. We have a good atmosphere and that makes things easier."

Demel conceded that it would be fair to assess West Ham's Barclays Premier League start as 'great' should they beat Arsenal on Saturday.

"It won't be easy to beat Arsenal because they are a good team and they are doing well at the moment. We know they can keep the ball so we're going to try to play our best and we're going to try to win the points.

"We are not going out to lose the game. It's going to be hard but it's all about football. We have our goals and we're playing at home, so with the support of the fans I think it is possible to do something."

For Demel, Saturday will see him reunited with a number of familiar faces - most notably his one-time Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, former Dortmund team-mate Tomas Rosicky and compatriot Gervinho.

"I know Gervinho well and I played with Tomas as well so I know some of their guys. It's always great and that's why I came here - to play against so many good teams and to compete and play against this kind of team.

"I think they are not happy to be playing against us right now because we are in a good position, so it will be nice to meet them but better to beat them!"

Demel might have spent just one season - 2000/01 - with Arsenal, but he was at the club long enough to see why Wenger has been able to spot, bring in and develop so many players like him from all over the world.

"I think it is because of the structure and organisation that Arsenal has and the scouting that they have all around Europe and beyond. They have people all over and they really understand what Arsene Wenger wants, so most of the time they don't make mistakes when they see young players.

"There is also the quality of the training ground and the way they train, as well as the philosophy. Even if they haven't won many trophies for the last few years, you can see that they stick with their philosophy and it can bring them success again."

Guy Demel

Guy Demel in action for Borussia Dortmund in 2004

Success is something Demel experienced at Dortmund - a club that has come to the fore recently following two consecutive Bundesliga title wins and a midweek UEFA Champions League masterclass at Manchester City. The defender has not been surprised by their success.

"I played four years in Dortmund and was a champion with them as well in 2002. We talked about philosophy and Dortmund have changed their philosophy and are now like Arsenal in that they bring through a lot of young players and try to move the ball quickly on the floor.

"It is a good team and is really a good club. They won the Champions League a long time ago [in 1997] and I follow them as well."

Finally, Demel is also preparing for a game that is sure to capture the imagination of the whole of African football.

Ivory Coast and Senegal are two of the continent's powerhouse nations, but both have been starved of Cup of Nations success in recent years - the Ivorians won the competition in 1992 and Senegal have never won the trophy. With that in mind, both are desperate to reach the 2013 finals in South African next January.

"It's going to be a really hard game because we won 4-2 at home but to play against Senegal in Dakar is difficult because they have a really good team. They have good players like Mo Diame, of course, and it won't be easy for us.

"We have to go to the Cup of Nations so we have to deal with them and for us it is really important to be in the finals in January. For our generation, this will the last tournament.

"We have been twice in the final and once in the semi-final in the previous four tournaments so we hope this will be our one to win."


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