First of all I would like to apologise to all Arsenal fans reading this.
If you read my match preview this time last week (do people even read this?) I tempted fate, starting the season like this:
“Things are great. The sun is shining, England are on the verge of clinching the Ashes, and The Arsenal are about to embark on what has the potential to be our best season in a very long time.
What could possibly go wrong?”
Of course we all knew what could wrong, and it duly obliged. Thankfully we are one game into a very long season and everything remains to be played for. We just have to respond well.
Arsène Wenger’s press conference on Friday revealed a number of things. Firstly, the manager wasn’t too impressed by the performance last weekend and said the players may have been struck by complacency.
“Maybe we were affected by the title talk,” the manager confessed. “Maybe it was also a mixture of nerves and thinking that we would win the game anyway. It was a too high level of confidence.”
There’s no room for that anymore, nor is there any reason to be complacent after the way we performed.
“It hurts us to disappoint people who have a high level of expectation.
“We always responded well but a defeat is a defeat. It’s never a blessing, it always hurts. We have analysed what happened to us but we don’t have to go overboard with what happened.”
Maintaining our confidence is vital, as we have the quality. We just have to apply it better than last Sunday.
It is very similar to a week ago, but the manager seems to be suggesting that Alexis Sánchez is ready to start. He didn’t look it last week, so we’ll have to see how that pans out.
Héctor Bellerín should return to the team, but Jack Wilshere (fractured fibula), Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky (both knee) remain sidelined.
If Alexis does return Wenger will probably have to choose who to leave out from Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Özil after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed last week.
Theo Walcott will hope to start up front after Olivier Giroud failed to impress
Possible XI: Čech; Bellerín, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Özil, Alexis; Walcott.
Crystal Palace shone under Alan Pardew last season after the ex-player returned to Selhurst Park, and they started the new campaign with a win at newly promoted Norwich last weekend.
Yohan Cabaye is a superb addition, and Pardew said on Friday that the midfielder would ‘walk into’ the Arsenal side. The likes of Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha and Jason Puncheon are extremely dangerous and unpredictable in attack and will pose a similar threat to Dmitri Payet, who the Gunners struggled to contain last weekend.
Goalkeeper Julian Speroni is out, as is former Arsenal man Marouane Chamakh.
Possible XI: McCarthy; Ward, Delaney, Dann, Souaré; Cabaye, Jedinak, McArthur; Zaha, Wickham, Bolasie.
There’s really no need to press the panic button just yet. After all, we have only played one game. What we have to do is put last week behind us and respond decisively before anyone declares a state of emergency.
We have enough quality to beat anyone we come up against. All that is needed is some patience and a more cohesive display than we saw against West Ham.