Arsenal have put themselves under great pressure already after the unbelievable home defeat against West Ham last weekend, and now simply must beat Crystal Palace or they will lose any residual confidence that they can still win the title.
Arsene Wenger started with Olivier Giroud as striker in that game, and took a chance of putting Alexis on as a sub, despite only being with the squad for one week. Wenger is now confident that the Chilean striker is ready to play and thinks he will improve on last’s seasons excellent campaign. Wenger said: “He came back as well reasonably fit. He practiced for two weeks before he came back. He did not start from zero and in training now, he looks alright.
“You wonder if he has created a beach at home, and runs along the living room. He is a hyperactive guy. He needs that to be happy.”
“He made 52 or 53 games last season, plus the Copa America, so that means somewhere he has an instinct that shows how far he can go,”
“It is difficult. In March, April, May (2015), you could see he was a bit jaded, but he is still a guy who can make a decision in a game, and once he is out there he gives 100 per cent.
“He is very ambitious, Alexis. He knows he won the FA Cup, now he wants to look to get more.”
“This season, he knows what is expected from him, and he will do better than last year.”
Olivier Giroud looked rather toothless last week, as did most of the players, but he still believes in his ability to bounce back and show mental strength. “I showed great mental strength last year and I had good stats.” Giroud said. “I always try to improve myself and I feel with the team, so yes, I am sure I can bring something more to the team and to my team-mates.”
“Unfortunately we have made mistakes – we will learn from them and try not to do it again. We can succeed to play our game, we want to bounce back on Sunday.
“When you want to win the league it is always a mix of skill and mental quality, technique and tactical. You cannot win the league without mental strength, and I think we have got it in our squad.”
Arsenal desperately need to win today, and keep on winning. Any more points dropped will simply look like failure, especially with Liverpool coming up next….