Arsenal stars confident of a big season

Theo Walcott, Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta and Arsene Wenger all speak out over the advantages they hope to enjoy this coming campaign…

Having been appointed Arsenal boss in September 1996, Arsene Wenger has enjoyed a 17-year tenure at N5, a feat all the more impressive when the Premier League average for a managerial change is once every 1.76 seasons. 

For the playing staff and the manager himself, this is a distinct advantage heading into the 2013-14 season as clubs they will be competing with for the domestic titles - Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea - have all seen changes in the dugout.

'When you bring in a new manager, you bring new ideas and you need to adapt, so if we can catch [our rivals] early and get a good start then we're going to have a chance,' began experienced midfielder Mikel Arteta who was speaking during the club's tour of Asia as quoted 'We're [not] that far away. We're at a massive club where there is a responsibility to win trophies.'

The last time the Gunners lost a competitive match was in April; a 2-1 loss to heated rivals Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. However, since then, the club embarked on an undefeated run, maintained momentum and stormed to what was, at the time of the Spurs capitulation, an unlikely fourth placed finish.

That form has been taken into their pre-season as they have struck the net 17 times from just three appearances having slain an Indonesia Dream Team 7-0, beaten Vietnam 7-1 and turning Nagoya Grampus over with a scoreline of 3-1. 

On extending this run into the Premier League calendar in the middle of August, zippy winger Theo Walcott - himself a star of pre-season having scored in two of the three games - said: 'I think we can just take the positives out of the last 11 games of the season when we were undefeated.

'If we take that form into the start of the new season, we'll be in good stead. Everyone is at the top of their game at the moment. Everyone's very fit and come the start of the season, we'll be flying and hopefully I will be a part of that. [The club have] a very good chance [of winning the title].'

One of the club's elder statesmen, Per Mertesacker, is confident in the players Wenger has at his disposal but called for consistency throughout the 38-game season and not just a ten-game spell. 

'We have a very good squad, full of potential and we want those qualities to come together. We have some experienced and some talented younger players - but we need to be consistent, and more than for just 10 games. We did that last season when we really had to, but this time we have to be ready from the very start.'

Wenger also believes the managerial stability and current and past momentum will be beneficial come the start of new season: 'We have one thing in that we created the momentum at the end of last season and for us the purpose is to transfer that momentum into the new season with a strong start,' he said.

'Are we capable of doing that? Well, that will certainly decide how much we will be competing in the Premier League - that is the most important target.'

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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