Theo Walcott has said that winning the Emirates Cup could help Arsenal get off to a quick start this season.
Arsenal have become notorious for being slow starters in the Premier League, with just one opening day win in recent memory.
There could be numerous reasons why that has been the case. Whatever it is, Walcott is hoping that the standard of competition at the Emirates Cup this season will help them get off to a quick start.
“It’s time to get in the right frame of mind, play against strong teams on a nice pitch, and just do the right things, the things that get you into the team,” he told Arsenal Player.
“You want to win as well, to get into the winning habit. We tend to have quite a good record at that.
“We’ve lost the opening game of the season over the past few years I think, so we need to make sure that pattern changes this year. We’re playing against strong teams in all the games we’re playing in pre-season, so there’s no excuse for a slow start.
“This team’s had ups and downs but we need to start well first. Starting well is the main priority and then we’ve got to push on from there.
“The manager has said that right from the first day here: make sure there’s a fast start. That’s why it’s important for us to play these bigger teams in pre-season, to be mentally ready and switched on. We need to get into good habits, that’s the main thing. It’s all about a positive start, and results will make that happen.”
Since the double-header against Australian teams at the start of the month, Arsenal have played English champions Chelsea and and German champions Bayern Munich. This weekend they play the Portuguese champions, Benfica on Saturday, and then Europa League kings Sevilla on Sunday.
It should be pointed out that this isn’t the first pre-season where the standard of opposition has been very high. In the past, it hasn’t done much to remedy Arsenal’s slow starts.
Last season began with a disastrous 4-3 defeat at home to Liverpool, a game we were blatantly not ready for. The year before saw another home defeat after a sluggish performance against West Ham. In 2014/15, Arsenal needed a last minute winner to beat Crystal Palace, while the season before that saw us lose 3-1 to Aston Villa, again at home.
Arsenal have yet another home game to start the season, this time against Leicester on a Friday night.
Emirates Cup or not, let’s hope Arsenal can actually win this time.