As Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal squad were getting ready to play Chelsea for the Community Shield at Wembley, a former Manchester United player was gunning for the Gunners.
Roy Keane, who had some (in)famous duels with Arsenal players in his playing time – more often with his counterpart Patrick Vieira – came out with the suggestion that the current squad is ‘more interested in selfies and six packs’ than challenging for trophies.
The players may have wanted to answer him and the critics with a win – although it comes in the season opener and the not-so-important Community Shield. But, the fact that it comes against his arch-nemesis and helps him break the hoodoo may have satisfied Wenger.
But, the scorer of the solitary goal Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dismissed Keane’s suggestions and claimed that the side has proved the detractors wrong over the weekend.
The England international believes that this squad is hard-working and is always looking to win silverware. Wenger’s side gave a fight to Chelsea for most part of the last season only to see their campaign fizzle out at critical points. They eventually finished 12 points behind the champions.
Most of the analysts believe that Arsenal will run Chelsea close once again this year. Some of them believe that Wenger can finally put his ghosts to bed by claiming the trophy. But, bridging the 12 point gap – and may be more – will not be an easy task. And Ox believes that the squad is up for the task.
Oxlade-Chamberlain believes that the current Gunners squad is stable and can take confidence from beating the Blues in the curtain-raiser at Wembley. This is exactly what would remain with the squad as they prepare for the first game of the season against West Ham United.
No one is under any illusion that winning the Community Shield will lay the marker for the rest of the season. Far from it, since history always puts the winner of the Shield away from the Premier League title. But, if the confidence can flow into the initial games and help Arsenal start well (unlike last year), the club can build up to a successful campaign.
The Gunners won the FA Cup for two years in a row but step into the new season on the back of a decade long drought with the Premier League trophy. 11 years, to be precise, is the time Arsenal hasn’t won the domestic title and Wenger will happily swap all his pre-season trophies for that.
Wenger may even find time to thank Keane for invigorating his squad with his “selfie” comments at the end of the season.