He has only just arrived at Arsenal recently, but new goalkeeper Petr Cech has already created an impact at the club in the dressing room.
Said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, “From Day One when he turned up for training, we had already felt his presence at the club. Petr (Cech) is the type who communicates well both on and off the pitch. So I think that he can add that extra dimension that we have are missing at the moment. We are very happy with him and I think that he has a good feeling about us as well, and about contributing to the team. With him, we can be a much stronger team.”
Arsenal do not have major goalkeeping problems according to Wenger
Despite the acquisition of Cech, Wenger though, stated that Arsenal have not had any major problems in terms of the goalkeeping department though. He explained, “It’s simple. Going back to the numbers, we have had no major goalkeeping problems. For example, we conceded 13 goals in 19 games last season and we hope to be able to maintain that record – that is one of our targets for the season ahead. To improve on it will be quite difficult though.”
And while Wenger is confident that Arsenal is strengthening and improving on their squad, the former Economics Professor is aware that everyone else in the Premier League is doing the same as well.
He said, “There are so many teams with potential to win the League in England. Everyone is always looking around and seeing what each other is doing and how strong they will be. So for us, we should not waste too much energy getting distracted by other teams and looking around us. We should instead see how we can develop our form and improve on our performance from last season.”
Pre-season helps to gauge how the teams are improving for the new season
That then, is how the pre-season tournaments come in. They not only help to gauge how the new players are able to fit into the rest of the team, but also to help managers decide how their teams and the players are gearing up for the season ahead after the summer vacation, according to Wenger. He said, “Football games played during pre-season are the best way to test how we stand, not only for the players but also the coach. It helps us to get our game back quickly.”
Added Wenger, “And it’s a good opportunity for me to give a chance to fringe players and see how they cope with first-team football. These help to impact my decisions too on the transfer market.”
Gauges how injured players are coming back to fitness and form
At the same time, the pre-season helps him to gauge how his current players are coming back from injury, explained Wenger – to access their physical and mental state for the upcoming season ahead. He said, “(Danny) Welbeck’s injury last season seemed to be a minor one at the start, but it took a lot longer to settle than we had expected. But I expect him to play a part in the Emirates Cup.”
Added Wenger, “I also expect him to develop as a central striker. Last season he mostly played wide but I think that he can be a very dangerous central striker as well. So that is what I am going to work on with him.”
Winning trophies will be a boost to Arsenal’s silverware aspirations
And winning the Barclays Asia Trophy this weekend will also help Arsenal mentally in terms of their silverware aspirations for the upcoming season, Wenger explained. This, together with their back-to-back FA Cup wins over the past two seasons will continue to help to forge a winning mentality amongst the players.
Added Wenger, “We always move forward in the second half of the season and win more games than the first. But then, a good Cup run such as in the FA Cup gives us something to aim for as the season draws to a close. You can’t fail to turn up in a Cup match. You need to be good enough to win the semi-final and then the final. The fact that a trophy is up there, helps to improve the mental condition and levels of motivation of your team.”
Arsenal have high ambitions in both the Premier League and Champions League
And according to defender Per Mertesacker, Arsenal definitely have high ambitions in terms of both the Premier League as well as the Champions League in the upcoming season. He said, “Our aspirations are always higher than ourselves. So we really want to be competitive in the Barclays Premier League by not dropping too many points at the start of the season. That would be the key to a successful Premier League season.”
Added Mertesacker, “And in the Champions League, we want to stay for as long as possible. We went through the group stages as favourites against Monaco last season but we had one bad game and then we were out of the competition. And we are not going to allow ourselves to do that again in the upcoming season.”
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