‘Gunners need to convince themselves they can bounce back from adversity — and the Blues are a prime example of how to do it’
BIZARRELY for champions, the vibe coming out of Chelsea over the summer and in the early part of the season was not great.
They missed out on transfer targets, Antonio Conte didn’t seem to be very happy, they sold Nemanja Matic to Manchester United…
And then they had two men sent off as they lost to Burnley on the opening day.
There were lots of questions being asked.
People had doubts about them fighting to regain the title.
And how did they respond?
Like big teams do.
They went to Wembley and beat Spurs. And they have won every game since.
They beat Leicester last weekend at the King Power, which is not an easy place to go, and then they beat Qarabag 6-0 to get their Champions League campaign off to a flier.
OK, the Azerbaijani team aren’t the best but wins like that breed confidence.
All that early-season negativity has been turned into positivity. They have given their answers on the field.
Which brings me to Arsenal. They have had their fair share of negativity, too. The equivalent to Chelsea’s home defeat to Burnley was Arsenal’s 4-0 thumping at Anfield.
The ideal response would be victory at the Bridge.
And I say that with all due respect to Bournemouth — who Arsenal beat last weekend.
That is not where they should be proving themselves.
To show they mean business they need to go and win at places like Chelsea.
And not to shut people up, not to prove a point to pundits, fans or journalists. But to prove to themselves that they can step up to the plate when the task is at its toughest.
This Arsenal team has the talent to compete for the title. But do they have the belief?
They need to convince themselves that they can bounce back from adversity — and the team in front of them this weekend are a prime example of how to do it. Over to you Arsenal.
Key to their hopes on Sunday will be Alexis Sanchez. There will be plenty of eyes on the Chilean as he tries to fit back into the Arsenal team.
Look, we all know he wanted to leave — but we have to forget all that now.
It was unfortunate that he got booed against Bournemouth last weekend. It is time to move on.
If he feels unwanted or unloved at the club it will be difficult for him to perform — he is a human being.
Arsenal don’t have anyone like him. He is a special talent.
It is best if everyone moves forward together. Be with him and hope he’ll be professional enough to give his all.
And I believe that he will.
As for Mesut Ozil, he is a wonderful player — beautiful to watch when he is on song. But he needs to do it consistently.
Yes, he has come in for some criticism but that comes with the territory when you are a star player.
People are not going to have a go at the reserve left-back when the team is under- performing! It is always the big players who get the praise when it is going well and the stick when it isn’t.
I had it myself. I had games when I was rubbish but got the headlines if I scored a hat-trick. I didn’t think that was right but it goes with the game.
Some games if I didn’t score I got hammered even if I’d played quite well!
Consistency is the only answer.
And again, it’s not about proving others wrong — it’s proving to yourself that you can do it. Forget the ‘he said this, he said that’ stuff.
Do it for yourself.
*IT WAS a shame Arsene Wenger didn’t start Alexandre Lacazette at Liverpool.
He said he wanted to protect him. But will he protect him again today? And if he does will it be Olivier Giroud or Danny Welbeck who comes in?
It’s good to have choices but they are big calls to make.