There has been a lot of talk over the years since the previous dominance Arsenal had over Chelsea was turned around when Jose Mourinho first took over as their manager. Spending exorbitant amounts of money on players while Arsene Wenger had the spending power of a street cleaner with a big overdraft did not help matters but once the hoodoo was broken it was turned around and it was Arsenal that could not get a result against Chelsea.
Wenger has always insisted that his failure to win against his managerial rival was not a mental problem for him, and now that the Gunners have beaten Mourinho’s Chelsea in the Community Shield, that is not so much of an issue anymore.
But the boss has admitted today that there may have been an issue in the minds of some Arsenal players and perhaps the team as a whole. In an Arsenal.com report he also said that he was not paying too much attention to how our London rivals have struggled so far this season, insisting that it is still early days and that he still expects a tough and intense challenge at Stamford Bridge.
But he also thinks that our win in the season opener at Wembley last month may well have helped Arsenal by removing any mental blocks that our players may have had.
He said, “For me, what is important is that Arsenal win games. It can sometimes be a mental block for the players or the team when they do not win against certain teams. On that front it was good [to win the Community Shield].
“What you expect from these kinds of games is [that they are] always high intensity, full commitment and of course you want to prepare for that and play with a full focus.
“For us it’s a big game. Let’s not forget it’s the start of the season and only five games have been played. We know our position at the end of the season will depend on how well we do in the big games.
“I do not think too much about where Chelsea stand in the league at the moment. I focus more on us performing well, with full power.”
Wenger also suggested that Arsenal may have a secret weapon in Petr Cech and not just because of his excellent keeping ability, but because of the little insights he can give on his former team mates. So are we confident Gooners?