A few weeks ago Arsenal were issued a warning by Slaven Bilic, the new manager in charge of West Ham, and at the time he seemed to have a good point. His team would be much more fit and ready for the opening Premier League game of the season at the Emirates today, because they had an earlier start with some Europa League qualifiers.
Now, however, I reckon Bilic must be regretting his words because their recent games have not gone well. They scraped through the first round only to be knocked out by Romanian minnows Astra on Thursday, losing their key striker Enner Valencia while doing so.
So while our opponents today have won just one of their last five games, Arsenal have been putting all and sundry, including Chelsea, to the sword. And even though a good pre-season does not guarantee a good start, Arsene Wenger believes that as long as his players approach the game with the right attitude, we will be able to carry our recent form into the league season, as reported by the Arsenal website.
The boss said, “I couldn’t ask for a better preparation. Preparation breeds confidence so we can go into the season in a good shape. Now it’s about points, about performance, about efficiency, about togetherness and about heart. We have to earn the right to win the games through effort. Those are the qualities that will be tested now.”
So the players need to be confident without being over confident and assuming that the game is already won. But as long as they put in the effort, surely Mr. Bilic will be left with egg on his face as eats his words.