Can Arsenal handle the pressure this time around?

It seems to me that there is an unbalance in the football media. Too many of the writers in the papers and the pundits on the television seem to me to be down on Arsenal; not giving the Gunners enough credit when we deserve it and revelling in our flaws when things go wrong.

This was never more in evidence than in the first half of the 2013-14 Premier League season. Arsenal started well and built a decent lead at the top of the table. We were playing some great stuff and getting results but all you heard in the media was that it would not last and that our perceived soft centre would show itself.

And that made it all the more painful when the second half of the season saw us slip off the top and finish in fourth place once again, because all of those smug pundits were able to say they told us so. None of them really took into account all the injury problems that afflicted Arsene Wenger, including long spells out for key men like Ramsey, Ozil and Walcott.

This season, however, gives Wenger and the Arsenal players a chance to show what they can do without a ridiculous injury list (fingers crossed) but that brings it’s own problem, the pressure of expectation. The boss needs to handle this right and our big players must step up, especially in the big games.

Us fans are starting to believe the club can do it but now the team needs to prove it and silence those sniping critics in the media. Can we handle the pressure?

Tags Giroud Ozil Wenger


  1. We need to step it up in the new season, with being more mentally tough and turning a point into 3 points! Coyg!

    1. With every season our team is growing more experienced. Especially after winning two cups, they have grown a lot stronger mentally. Players like Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil and now Petr Cech also help give us a more resilient mentality.

    2. I must admit this whole “pressure” business confuses me a little. I listened to the media narrative after the two Monaco games – the general consensus appeared to be we didn’t perform in the first home game because of the pressure but being “typically Arsenal” we reacted in the return leg when the pressure was allegedly off. I thought almost the exact opposite was nearer the truth. Complacency was more the culprit in the first game and the real pressure was evident in the return game – can’t be more pressure to perform if you know you are going out of the biggest club competition there is unless you can score 3 goals.

      Similar with the league, they said we only performed after Christmas when the title was effectively gone – insinuating there is no pressure to recover from your worst start for 30 years to save both professional embarrassment and the UCL qualification spot. Coming from behind in any sport is pressurised if you know you cannot afford any more slip-ups. The first few months of the season are nowhere near as pressurised as the last few months – but to do well in the first few months you need maximum concentration and no complacency. I think those two “C”s are our worst enemies – not ability to perform under pressure. But I guess you can dress this up whichever way you choose.

  2. Of course Arsenal CAN stay solid all season. Will they? Only the football gods know for sure – so many variables.

  3. Arsen can, players will have to but us fans not shore if we can handel it,

    if we don’t get one or two players this transfer window it will be all stress once again,

    and now that AW has said he won’t buy untill all his players are injury free what does that mean apart from Dany Welback all is fit and injury free,
    Does this mean no sighning untill Janury? OH NO Arsen don’t belive on buying in January so it’s all over for new sightings ?

    Or is this his sick master plan like every transfer window he does the same waits untill some desparete club sales on the last hour of the last day of the transfer window

    Meanwhile we have been voted as one of the most financialy sound club in the world

    So GOONERS what do you make of AW statement?

    1. It could mean that Wenger wants to know player availability going before making transfer decisions.

      More probably, considering it is Wenger talking about transfers, it means absolutely nothing.

      1. @mohawk
        I think it’s clear what he thinks and that he has a full set of players, if players are injured after a few games he would consider buying and only if the injury(s) are severe and long term, so this means unles someone like Messi comes knocking on the door for a quid and a penny for salary he won’t buy, or is he bluffing again, Dam you never know with Texas holdem Wanger

    2. Welbeck is injured. We are Walcott injury away from Giroud being Arsenal first choice striker again lol. What if Walcott gets injured on sep 2 and we dont sign new striker ? scary.

  4. i sense some sniff in the madia about oZil heading to juv gosh how i wish this one go through workload will will drastically reduce in the middle of the park he ozil dose not mark.English football demands marking

  5. This article implies that Arsenal’s decline in the 2nd half of 2013/14 season was due to an inability to handle pressure. But was that really the main reason??

    Arsenal’s decline coincided nearly exactly with the injuries to Ozil, Ramsey and Walcott (among others). When you lose 3 players of this caliber at the same time something has to give. So the more probable reasons for the decline were these key injuries and perhaps a lack of quality depth to fill the void.

  6. We play nine games before
    the window closes so
    there is plenty of time
    to assess all the squad.
    Another DM +the Arsenal defense is fine.
    Ramsey Cazorla Ozil Sanchez are as good as any.
    The fitness and form of Giroud Wellbeck
    Walcott Chamberlain and any new
    attacking option is the main variable..
    Sanogo and Campbell on loan.
    Keep every one else including Ospina Flamini
    and Rosicky until January to cover form and injury.
    City and Chelsea look settled. United look desperate.
    If Arsenal can take at least 3 points
    from Chelsea, City and United then
    yes Arsenal can win the EPL.

    1. I think we need a marquee striker before we play in the Emriates cup. We can wait for CDM to sign in mid august but striker needs pre season games and to settle in BPL. Costa and Alexis played in pre season games which is the reason why they were able to score goals. On the other hand look at Welbeck who didnt play in pre season struggled.

  7. I can tell you guys are in pain. No transfer news, not even one good rumour. I feel your pain guys.

    Go outside, talk to people; real people, not the FaceBook people.

  8. Normally fans are impatient for transfer news because they see so many holes in the squad. This year, however, fans are more likely impatient because they long for these very final pieces of the puzzle.

    To me, Arsenal has not looked this good in July for many years. We have lost almost nothing this summer and the few losses mostly HELP the club by freeing up cash. Arsenal have only become stronger with the signing of Cech. I am VERY encouraged. I think the squad is very strong. Just need the final 1 or 2 pieces of the puzzle.

  9. I’m worried about the DM position. If Coquelin got a major injury, it will be tough. Coquelin really made an important impact to the team last season. Minor injuries are acceptable as Arteta, Wilshere, Flamini, chambers can cover but we really need another top DM ideally.

    I’m still hoping for (in addition to Cech)
    1. Top DM
    2. Top Striker
    3. Young understudy/3rd LB

    1. I think every Arsenal fan would agree we need another quality DM and we’d all be very disappointed if we didn’t get one. But I’d just mention that Coquelin’s injury record is very good, especially for an Arsenal player, which quite encouraging.

      1. Coquelin was injury prone few years ago but now he doesnt get injured too much.
        However if we dont sign a CDM he has to play almost every game which could bring injury problems.

  10. We need a CDM and top striker at any cost this season. We play so poorly in big games when it matters. Like against Monaco and before last season we got hammered by all big teams. We dont even have a organized and balanced team with Arteta and Flamini playing at CDM and no top striker, keeper or CB. Last season somehow we found a CDM in Coquelin who did a good job for us and with Cech we have found some toughness. Now we need to work better physically and defend in numbers and work rate needs to be better.

  11. My guess is that AW will spring for a DM only after he gets his striker, which is a more pressing need. After he gets his striker, he can use what’s left in the transfer kitty on a DM. In one sense, ManU might have done us a favor getting Schweinsteiger because now that they’ve got Schweinsteiger, I can’t see them also splurging for Schneiderlin too. So he might still be available for us.

  12. I guess we are only going to bring a striker and wait to see how we perform in our matches before considering bringing in a defensive midfielder..

  13. We’ve had several different situations over the last few years and I agree that the media has always been on our back but I disagree with your ultimate conclusion and I think you are seeing things through slightly rose tinted glasses.

    In the 2013-14 season we had a hugely inflated league position due to fixture lists. Up until Christmas we’d avoided playing most of the big boys and had picked up our points by winning games against all the small fry. Christmas rolled round and we suffered big losses. This continued into January and then a TERRIBLE February. After this we were looking shaky as fudge and a win against Liverpool in the FA Cup turned our season around. This coinsided with injuries to Walcott, Ramsey and Ozil in the January period BUT we’d already started slipping when we’d lost big games to big opponents. It was a combination of EXACTLY what had been said by the media and the fact we’d lost key players…and everyone does lose key players so it isn’t an excuse to hide behind. We didn’t have the depth in the squad to combat those losses, so we suffered.

    The 2014-15 season was a different kettle of fish. We started horribly with a huge world cup hangover. Players like Mert just didn’t seem interested, our RB got injured almost immediately, Kos was out of our defence for months, our midfield and attack felt cobbled together and all over the shop as injuries to Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott, Ox and Giroud constantly meant changes with little to no consistency in the squad and style of play. We had been written off as “past it” before the season started and that poor start left us languishing. Then we got our team together and we smashed it with the pressure on against us to perform. We came short due to having too much of a gap to climb. BUT again, it wasn’t pressure that defeated us – it was injuries and hangover.

    The Monaco disaster was in my opinion evidence of us playing averagely and skating by at the time. It took that loss to wake up our players to how poor they actually were – we’d won the previous few games through grit instead of skill. Against Monaco we needed to play and we didn’t, so they capitalised (with a huge chunk of luck). The 3-1 scoreline flattered them, having pretty much every attempt they took find the back of our net and seeing Mertesacker play the worst game I’ve seen from him in an Arsenal shirt. The upside was we then kicked our own butts to play, but it was about bloody time!

    What can we take away is that we still need a little additional quality to our team because we still are having periods unaffected by injury where our skill level is below champion standard. This may be due to hangovers from other competitions or just general complacency, but we are losing or drawing games because we don’t quite have enough skill to just skate by. On the otherside, we can definitely say that pressure isn’t our biggest foe. We’ve consistently won the FA Cup now and always come through against good opposition in big games (Man Utd away this year, Liverpool just 2 weeks after losing 5-1 to them last year!). Pressure isn’t our problem, our problem is injury and quality. A little tweak here and there and this squad can become Champion quality. It’s just whether or not those tweaks are gonna be possible this time around.

  14. Arsenal cannot handle pressure except all departments are fortified. Now we have 3keepers,3central defenders,2right and left backs,1 CM,many attacking mid fielders and wingers,1 striker. On this ground I still insist we need another striker and CM to challenge cos when one is injured or is not performing we use the other. When this isn’t the case the pressure becomes too much to bear. If there was someone better than Giroud against Monaco we would have been 2goals up by half time

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