We go into this new season on a high, full of confidence, after a successful tour of Singapore, winning the Emirates Cup and victory over Chelsea in the Community Shield. The players look sharp, fit and should be ready to begin the new Premier League season.
After the results yesterday, Manchester United scraping a win by an own goal and Chelsea getting a draw, we need to take advantage and start strong. Although it does show that the first game of the season can be unpredictable and focus has to be maintained.
I expect we’ll see the same lineup as against Chelsea but with Giroud starting up front in place of Theo Walcott.
Cech – Bellerin – Koscielny – Mertesacker – Monreal – Cazorla – Ramsey – Coquelin – Ozil – Giroud – Chamberlain.
West Ham have a new manager who the fans are fond of and had a successful stint at Besiktas. You always have to be wary of teams that have recently had a new manager appointed as enthusiasm to impress is dangerous for opposition. Billic threw away their chance at European football in the Europa Cup by fielding a reserve team so they can focus on the domestic competitions.
Wenger is aware of the danger and the necessity of starting strong:
“One of our targets is to start strong. We had a good preparation and that should give us the needed confidence. The Premier League is a fight in every single game so we have to prepare ourselves mentally for that and come out of the blocks straight away against West Ham.
Our ambition is to win the Premier League but we have to sustain that by performance and fighting spirit in every single game.”+
With all the rumours circulating about Arsenal attempting to sign a striker, namely Benzema, the boss has tried to instil belief in his current squad by asking for the entire team to chip in with the goals:
“We have to develop our collective game. I think we have to depend less on one guy who comes in and then scores all the goals, and continue to develop our players and the collective aspect.
I don’t see why a guy like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should not aim to score 10 or more goals. Alexis can score goals and Ozil has to fix himself a target of at least 10. Five for a guy who plays behind a striker, you want more goals from him. We can share that a bit.”
It was great to see Alexis Sanchez back in training already but I hope we don’t call upon him to play before he is ready. It’s going to be a great feeling being back the Emirates this year, if pre-season is anything to go by, but getting that first win in the league is vital.