Olivier Giroud admits Arsenal are delighted to have sealed second spot in the Premier League, but admits his side must mount a stronger title challenge next year.
The Frenchman struck after just five minutes of Arsenal's 4-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa at the Emirates by heading home Nacho Monreal's cross.
But an unusually resolute performance meant Villa kept the hosts from adding to their lead until 12 minutes from time, when Mesut Ozil teed up Giroud from six yards.
The forward, who last week ended a 15-game goal drought, completed his hat-trick two minutes later after being picked out by Hector Bellerin.
Mikel Arteta added a fourth late on to cap off the win, which saw Arsenal once again finish above their bitter rivals Tottenham, who were unexpectedly hammered 5-1 at relegated Newcastle.
Speaking to BBC's Final Score programme after the game, Giroud said he was delighted to see his side secure second place, but said the Gunners need to ensure they are make a stronger claim to the Premier League title next year.
"We were hoping to finish in the top three, but to finish second is very nice," he said.
"So we are really pleased to finish second and hopefully next year we will go up one place."
Although the latest heavy defeat for bottom-of-the-table Villa extended their winless run to 13 games, Giroud was nevertheless impressed by the way the visitors set themselves up in North London.
"We wanted to start strong as usual at home and we knew it wasn't going to be easy even if Villa are going down", he continued.
"We were thinking they would fight for their pride and they did well today, but we were finally efficient up front even if by half time we could have scored three or four goals."