With the win in the Community Shield against defending PL champions Chelsea, Arsenal stamped their reputation as serious contenders to challenge for the PL title. However, a major requirement for that is to accumulate as many points as possible from the off. A good start was something that Arsenal couldn’t achieve last season. There is one more lesson that the Gunners have had to learn from the mistakes committed in the previous seasons, and that is consistency.
Unlike the 14-15 season, Arsenal had a decent start in 13-14 as a result of which we were top of the table for 128 days. But in the second half of the season we lost our way and as a result of a string of poor results, we ended up in the 4th position. To win the title, the most fundamental requirement is consistency. And it is fair to say this is the best chance in years for Arsenal to win in the league.
The quest for the first league title in 12 years begins with a home fixture against London rivals West Ham United to mark the first London Derby of the 2015-16 PL season. The history of this fixture is very much in Arsenal’s favour, with the Gunners winning 12 of the last 14 meetings between these two sides. The last time these two sides met was at the Emirates with the home side running out 3-0 winners after goals from Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini. Taking all these stats into account, this is a decent opportunity for the Gunners to get off to a much needed decent start to the new season.
New season brings about new changes and a new outlook to the team. Although Arsenal’s major incomings have been restricted to a single change between the sticks, the departures have been slightly more significant. Lukas Podolski has been sold on while Yaya Sanogo, Chuba Akpom, Issac Hayden and Serge Gnabry have been moved on temporarily to gain first team experience, not to mention the notable offloading of Wojciech Szczesny to Roma.
There is still enough depth in this squad to withstand a full Premier League Season, but that is just on paper. The infamous love story between Arsenal and injuries continues to persist; Jack Wilshere the latest, after injuring his left fibula in training. He is expected to miss the first 6 weeks. Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez are still unavailable, albeit back in training and that leaves us with pretty much the same squad as that for the Community Shield.
It’s a very important season for West Ham United, their last at the Boleyn Ground before their move to the Olympic Stadium. Staying up in the top flight means the opportunity to reap the benefits of the new ground and the new TV deals in place for next season. They have Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll out injured. Unlike Arsenal, they are pretty much on a low, after crashing out of the Europa League on a 4-3 aggregate against Romanian club Astra.
A win at Arsenal on the opening day would be the best way to start the PL season on a high and also give new manager Slavin Bilic a much needed boost. As one team looks to continue the good form, the other wants to be off and running after a setback. One can expect a good first London Derby of the season.