Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s visit to Selhurst Park on Sunday, Arsene Wenger reflected on the shock defeat suffered against West Ham United on the opening day of the season while commenting that it was difficult to maintain consistency against the lower teams in the English Premier League.
The Gunners’ boss expressed his hurt at having disappointed the fans in the opening day debacle at the Emirates but insisted that the players were determined to put their defeat against West Ham behind them and looked to perform strongly against Crystal Palace.
On a tighter and tougher league
Speaking in the pre-match press conference, Arsene Wenger commented that he was expecting the competition to be ‘tighter and tougher’ this season while accepting responsibility for disappointing the fans for the 2-0 defeat.
“[Our fans have] passion, love and thata s why it hurts [to lose]. We have a big following and disappointed people are emotional and that is understandable.”
a It hurts us to disappoint people who have a high level of expectation. On our side we have to put things in perspective, we come out from a very strong run and we have 37 games to go. Ita s how we respond [that matters].
a Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) August 15, 2015
Wenger, who is currently in his 20th season in charge of Arsenal FC, felt that the league will be tougher compared to previous years as the teams in the lower half of the table have improved over the course of the summer.
a It will certainly be a tighter and tougher league because the quality of teams in the lower half of the table has improved.”
The new Premier League TV deal has given a massive boost of income to mediocre clubs and have enabled them to spend money in the transfer market. One such example would be Stoke City signing Xherdan Shaqiri’s from Inter Milan earlier this month.
On Petr Cech and the possibility of another signing
The 65-year-old also commented on the possibility of adding another player to their squad. Wenger maintained that while Arsenal is not close to signing any individual, they are actively scanning the market in a bid to find someone who can strengthen the team. He reiterated that Arsenal’s poor performance against West Ham could not be blamed on their lack of activity in the transfer market.
“When you lose a game you always get that kind of demand, we have to be honest enough and ask, a Could we have won the game without any addition?a and I would say yes.”
However, the manager was quick to add that the unavailability of quality players in the transfer market made it difficult for the club to invest in new signings.
“If we find somebody anywhere who strengthens our squad then we will do it. It is not easy, it is not supermarket stuff where you go in and say, a I would like this, please can you give it to me.a The availability is not easy.”
Petr Cech endured a forgettable Premier League debut for the Gunners as the veteran keeper was at fault for both the goals that the North London club conceded. Cech arrived for a fee in the region of A?10 million from rivals Chelsea FC in the summer and so far remains the only addition that the club have made. Wenger insisted that Cech was a great goal-keeper and that he had carefully analysed his mistakes from the season opener.
“He is a great goalkeeper and needs to focus on the next one. He analysis it very well, he is a bright player, bright man and he knows that it is down to how well he responds to that.”
Arsenal FC have been billed as title contenders this season and managed to win the Community Shield against Chelsea FC in order to cap off an excellent pre-season campaign. However, the defeat against West Ham exposed the long standing frailties in the squad, including the lack of match winners and a weak mentality. The Gunners also have a tendency to concede cheap goals at crucial intervals and they need to work on eliminating this facet of their game if they are to challenge for the league title this season.