If Arsene Wenger reads papers and heeds to Arsenal supporters, the last week would have been quite tiresome. After the opening game loss to West Ham United, there were all sorts of news for Wenger – advice on formation, players, whom to purchase, everything!
The loss may have stung the manager but he’s showing clear signs of calm ahead of the next game against Crystal Palace. Wenger says there is no reason the opening-day defeat should stop the Gunners from having “a strong season”.
The bitter truth is that the optimism from the successful pre-season has been crashed by the untimely loss to West Ham. Every year the hopes ride high before the start but this year the results created enough room for expectations.
Ahead of the trip to Crystal Palace, Wenger has challenged his team to respond at Selhurst Park. He knows that his opponents will be no easy pushovers, especially playing at their home.
“We have analysed what happened to us, but we don’t have to go overboard with what happened. It is a defeat and it hurts, but that shouldn’t take our belief in our potential away.”
Another thought on Wenger’s plate is the scrutiny of Petr Cech’s performance. The former Blues goalkeeper joined the Gunners early in the window and was hailed as the “last piece of the puzzle” for Wenger. But, his debut performance left much to be desired and was widely criticized for the loss. Wenger quickly rubbished the critics and said that the whole team was at fault for the loss.
Wenger may have been criticized in the past for being unambitious and not aggressive enough, but he’s pragmatic. The manner of our loss should definitely hurt Wenger but the dropping of points may not yet hurt him much until the end of the season. The Super Sunday clash at Selhurst Park provides a second chance for the Gunners to start their title challenge. Any more dropped points would keep the criticism flowing from all directions for Wenger. And he may not be able to ignore it much longer….