Arsene Wenger has often played down the expectations of the Arsenal fans about our chances of winning the Premier League title. Not that the Frenchman has been saying that his team have no chance, but he has usually been quick to point out that it is a very tough division and that our main rivals for the trophy have been able to outspend us.
Wenger has always expressed belief in his players, but at most times this has been tinged with a healthy dose of realism and the manager has talked about our title challenge with more an expression of hope than real belief. This season there is a lot more belief among us fans and in the football world that the Gunners do now have the tools to succeed.
But that also brings more pressure onto the players and onto Wenger himself, so I am very glad to see the Arsenal.com report in which the boss take this on and does not try to play down the expectations of Gooners everywhere. He accepts that he will have some biq questions to answer if Arsenal fail to live up to the challenge.
Wenger said, “The expectations are very high and that is understandable because you cannot win the FA Cup and finish third in the league and then say ‘Look, next year we want to do nothing.
“People expect a lot from us and it is the first time for a long time we have all had confidence in our environment. Before, we always lost big players and then you would quickly question us. The ingredients are there but I am long enough in the job to know we have to prove that with points.
“So I am confident because we have played well, but I am realistic as well. You know when the competition starts it’s a different game and you have to transform your performance into points.
“We have a tricky start with West Ham and Crystal Palace. But I believe we know what we want to do, we know how we want to play and we had a good end to last season.
“We also have a good stability to our squad. So there are positive ingredients there. We have no injuries at the moment, touch wood, so there is no reason why we should be panicking at the moment.”
I like this approach from the prof, as it would be easy for him to try to take the pressure off the squad. Instead he seems confident that his players can handle it and are ready to step up to the plate. After all, pressure can bring the best out of professional sportsmen as well as have a negative effect. So which will it be?