The summer began with the addition of Petr Čech and an extremely encouraging pre-season, which ended with a win over Chelsea in the Community Shield.
Everything was going well, and people began to talk up Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League this season. By the time the first round of fixtures ended the Gunners were 19th, following a 2-0 loss to West Ham United.
What went wrong?
“Maybe we were affected by the title talk,” Arsène Wenger admitted in Friday’s press conference. “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.”
The team never really got going, which was a huge disappointment.
So far 2015 has been a fantastic year. We picked up a lot of points to finish 3rd after a troublesome start to last season and went on to lift the FA Cup at Wembley. The defeat to West Ham is a setback but it is just one game and Wenger believes his team is well equipped to bounce back immediately.
“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.
“It is a defeat and it hurts but that shouldn’t take our belief in our potential away.”
Confidence was high after the positive start to the campaign, and it may have done Arsenal good to have their wits sharpened before the season really gets going.
Sunday was still a disappointment but there is plenty of time left to make up for it, and there shouldn’t be any danger of complacency again.
“Every defeat makes you a bit smaller,” Wenger said, but the manager insisted it won’t destroy the confidence of the team.
“t is our job to take it into perspective with 37 games to go. We have the history behind us in the second half of the campaign last year that we haven’t the quality to respond always and to be consistent let’s focus on our quality.”
As long as Arsenal focus on themselves and block out talk from outside – both positive and negative – we still have a huge chance of a successful season. After all, it’s hardly even begun.