If you were looking for a sign of whether all the confidence among us Arsenal fans and the nice things (for a change) said about us in the football media at the minute are an accurate depiction of where the current crop of Gunners stands when compared to our main rivals for the Premier League, including the dreaded Jose Mourinho and his expensively assembled Chelsea team, then you should be encouraged by the words of Arsene Wenger.
In a report by the Daily Mail, the Frenchman was very honest about the problems that have held back Arsenal in the past, including our slow start last season that allowed Mourinho´s side to establish a big lead and cruise to the title.
Wenger also spoke about how hard it was during those financially frugal years when he had to somehow cope with losing key players like Ashley Cole and Samir Nasri, seemingly every transfer window and always to strengthen a direct rivals.
So he can appreciate the frustration of the Arsenal fans who have given him a really hard time, although since that infamous incident at the railway station after our horror display at Stoke, that has largely calmed down. The big thing for me is that Wenger seems confident that Arsenal are now ready to be consistent as well as good throughout a whole season.
He also seems to be really looking forward to this year and a few more after, insisting that he is enjoying his job as much as ever.
He said, “‘It crosses my mind sometimes, but for no longer than five seconds, because I panic a little bit.
“I am more committed than ever.
“The number of times you have done it doesn’t count. It is how much you love what you do that counts. And the love is not necessarily diminished by the number of times you’ve done it.
“Football is new every day. That’s a big quality. It makes you question. With every defeat people say, ‘What’s this guy doing?’
“You have an exam every three days. You have no way to look back. You have to prepare for the next exam and come out with success.
“I am like everybody: you lose three games and… but when you analyse my time here, you will see I did not lose three games on the trot many times. The job of a manager, as well, is to reduce the time of crisis.
“I want to do well for the club, and when I leave one day, I want to leave it in a position where it can go on and on.
“Big experience helps you anticipate what you will face. Even here, there are unpredictable responses. You would not necessarily expect people to insult you on the way to the train.
“It’s the way society has gone. I can take a distance from that. I know the same people can be excessive.
“That’s where experience helps. You have a good assessment of who you are and you’re not influenced by what people say, whether it’s too positive or too negative.
“What is true is we have stability we didn’t have before. I was more exposed to, ‘who will go’ and now the question I get more is, ‘who will come?’
“Our potential on the market has changed a bit and if you ask me will we win the Premier League, I just say we want to. We will try and give everything but it will be a very open competition.
“We have a chance. All is going well. Our heaviest defeat last season was 2-0 and it was against Chelsea. We have reduced the gap and I believe we are ready to go further.
“To guarantee, I cannot do that. You cannot guarantee in the Premier League. Again there are five to six competitors.
“It’s very difficult to guess how strong the other teams will be. I promise we will fight to win, but it is difficult.
“When you lose your best players it is impossible.
“You see opponents strengthen when they are already stronger than you.
“You just get into the top four and see others still strengthening. On top of that you’re losing your best players, so it is difficult to be convinced you can still win the league.
“I know if I could have won the league or not. The year we lost it at Birmingham (2007-08), we could have won the league.
“Last year, no, because after six games we were 11 points behind Chelsea and to catch 11 points back was nearly impossible.
“Stability is undervalued and that is what we want to show. We have stability and that gives us strength.
“Chelsea has good stability, especially defensively. They took advantage of it from the start of the season.
“Last year, we missed our start for different reasons. One was that after the World Cup some players were not mentally ready.
“We also had the Champions League qualifier that cost us a lot of energy against Besiktas.
“But again we have a tricky start — West Ham look to have bought well and Crystal Palace are a strong team. We have to be ready.
“We don’t have that`[a mental block with Chelsea]. I don’t believe in that at all. Chelsea have lost against weaker opponents than us.”
So there you have it Gooners. Time to stick your money on Arsenal for the title?