Arsenal have had their most successful pre-season for 10 years, winning every single game and even beating the defending Champions Chelsea at Wembley, so it was nothing less than a shock to watch West Ham outplay us at the Emirates yesterday.
All Arsenal fans could be forgiven for thinking that we would could continue our winning run into the new season, especially when Wenger said in the run up to the game: “I’m ready for a fight and of course motivated to start well,” he said. “One of our targets is to start strong. We had a good preparation and that should give us the needed confidence.
“The Premier League is a fight in every single game so we have to prepare ourselves mentally for that and come out of the blocks straight away against West Ham.”
So where was that “good preparation and much-needed confidence” yesterday? Apparently Wenger now thinks that West Ham were the better prepared team, after the Hammers had failed to win either leg of their UEFA tie against Romanian minnows Astra.
After our 2-0 defeat Wenger had changed his tune. He said: “I think our performance was not convincing. On the two aspects of our game, going forward and defending. Overall we were punished. On top of that, I feel we gave two very cheap goals away and they were at the wrong moments – just before and after half-time, with two minutes to go, and just after half-time. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb. West Ham looked a bit sharper than us, more advanced in preparation than us. In the end we wanted, but it was not convincing, not agile, not quick. Our passing was too slow and in the end we were punished.
“West Ham are a bit more advanced in their preparation than us. They’ve played many competitive games in the Europa League. I knew before the game it would be tricky game on that front. A big part of it was not to concede, even if we played for a 0-0. The way we conceded the goal just before half-time, with experience we have in our team, is difficult to understand.”
I think we are all finding this difficult to understand Arsene. You tell us we have had a pefect preparation for the season, then say West Ham have had a better one! Narrow wins over teams from Andorra and Malta and a defeat to a Romanian team is better than beating Chelsea in the Community Shield? This is not just difficult to understand, it’s baffling!