Arsenal were seen as one of the dark horses for the Premier League title in the 2015-16 season largely because of the confidence provided by the back-to-back FA Cup titles. The results in the pre-season appeared to confirm the same, as the gunners even achieved a 1-0 win over champions Chelsea. However, all the positivity was brought back to earth following a shock 2-0 loss against local rivals West Ham at the Emirates stadium.
Arsene Wenger has made just one signing – Petr Cech from Chelsea – in the summer, but that appeared to be more than sufficient to strengthen the squad in all the right areas. Cech played a huge role in the team’s 1-0 win against Chelsea at the new Wembley. However, the 33-year-old goalkeeper was the culprit after the gunners fell to a 2-0 shock defeat against West Ham on Sunday.
The North London outfit were overwhelming favourites to get three points from this opening game especially since the team was on a high. West Ham brought in former player Slaven Bilic as the replacement for Sam Allardyce, but not many would have expected him to make such a wonderful start to his career as a manager at the London outfit. A win would have helped Arsenal off to a great start and will also have provided them with sufficient confidence to take on the top teams like Liverpool and Chelsea in the next few weeks. As it is, Wenger’s team will have to go back to the drawing board. About the result, Wenger said:
“We will respond to that accident.
“The players were maybe too nervous and put too much pressure on themselves. Today we have been hurt mentally and it is a good opportunity to respond.
“We were not convincing offensively or defensively. I knew it could be a tricky game. If you can’t win the game, make sure you don’t lose it.
“I would like to think that we are responsible for buying the players, not the media.
“When you’re a pro footballer, you have to face your responsibilities and not always look at something else.”
This defeat is unlikely to cause panic at the club, as Wenger has always maintained that he buys only when necessary. The lack of width from the team against West Ham would have been a cause of concern, but this is an aspect that is amendable due to the presence of names like Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez. Despite the negativity, the high-profile mistakes from Cech, which allowed not only one goal but two, are something of a rare occurrence and Arsenal continue to remain as one of the favourites for the league title in the upcoming campaign.
The club needs to recover soon from this disappointing result with a London derby against Crystal Palace set for next weekend. Then, there is the small matter of hosting Liverpool at the Emirates stadium.