Now that the Emirates Cup is out of the way, and with our newcomers (except David Ospina) making their debuts and performing well, our attention turns to Sunday’s FA Community Shield clash with Manchester City, and I for one can’t wait.
Even though it’s not a major trophy, the Community Shield will inject a load of fresh confidence in our players should we emerge victorious, and also pinpoints the strengths and weaknesses we have before the start of the season.
In the wake of last season’s drubbings at Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool, I believe that Arsenal’s approach to those big games will change now. Our main attacking threats last season were Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey. When they were injured Arsenal suffered severely and at times were too predictable for our opponents, which caused us to lose most of the games against our rivals. Now with the addition of Alexis Sanchez, we are no longer predictable in our passing and execution, and with his trickery and the speed of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott, Arsenal are a completely different beast this year.
For the last couple of years Arsenal’s squad depth has always been an issue. With injuries frequently occurring, our squad just didn’t have what it takes to go on and win the Premier League title. But now, with the likes of Lukas Podolski, a fit Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere, Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo we finally have the competition needed in the team and the quality on the bench able to make a difference in those crucial games.
The Community Shield is the first real test, and a must win for us. Missing the likes of Ozil, Podolski, Per Mertesacker and Walcott will certainly be felt, but our current squad is more than capable of winning the game.
Our FA Cup win last May and our recent signings indicate that Arsenal are no longer a team that only remain hopeful of reaching the Champions League. This beast now has the potential to fight financially against the other teams, sign the best talent around and win titles.
Finally, Sunday’s game should be Arsenal’s starting point for a great season ahead. Winning against Manchester City will give confidence and belief to the team, as well as a message to everyone that we are hungrier than ever and ready to fight for silverware.