by Nia Griffiths
Arsene Wenger believes it’s down to the manager to not only see the potential in their team, but to also get the most out of the players.
The boss claims he always saw the potential in our current squad and knew we could be successful if we just stuck with it, got fit and ground out results.
Speaking recently, he used Stoke as an example saying, “A manager has to make the most of the potential of the team that he has. [For example] I said openly that [Stoke City manager] Mark Hughes took the maximum out of his squad last year.
“They finished ninth in the league and they played well, but this year they want to do better. It might not necessarily be 100 per cent guaranteed to do it but the challenge is always to get the best out of your team.”
He continued, “At the end of the day I know where my team can be and whether I’ve got the maximum out of them at the end of the season. That’s where experience helps.”
Wenger then delved into the painful realm of ‘what if‘s and revealed when he truly thought we could’ve won the Premier League.
“I know if we could have won the league or not,” he revealed. “For example the year we lost it at Birmingham, I think we could have won the league. Last year no, because after six games we were 11 points behind Chelsea and to catch them up was nearly impossible with the run they had.”
On how much the squad has improved, Wenger indirectly brought up those horrific defeats against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City the season before last when the amount of goals we were letting in was shameless.
“Our heaviest defeat last year was by two goals,” the boss said. “It was 2-0, from a whole season, and it was against Chelsea. That means we have reduced the gap and I believe we are ready to go further.”
A vital part of our game that we do seem to have overcome is freezing up in big games. Last season we beat Manchester City at the Etihad 2-0, which was huge, and Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup, which we went on to win. A vast improvement, I’d say.