Arsenal return to Premier League action on Friday evening against Leicester City, in a match where both sides will be looking for improvements after a largely disappointing league campaign last season.
The Foxes failed to mount any sort of defence for their Premier League crown whilst Arsenal finished outside of the Champions League spots for the first-time under Arsene Wenger’s tenure, leading to plenty of speculation as to whether the Frenchman would remain at the club.
Following the FA Cup victory over Chelsea, Wenger was rewarded with a new two-year contract and has impressed in the market this summer with the additions of Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette, the latter of which arrived for a club-record fee from Lyon.
Both new signings are expected to provide a major boost to the Gunners, particularly Lacazette’s addition to the attacking line, but the whole squad needs to rally together on Friday evening to overcome Arsenal’s opening day demons.
Arsene Wenger’s side have struggled to get off to the ideal start in recent seasons and their record over the past X seasons has been woeful; losing to Liverpool, West Ham and Aston Villa in recent seasons, winning just one opening day match since 2010 and failing to win 12 of their opening day fixtures since the Premier League’s inception in 1994.
Whilst the dramatic 4-3 defeat to Liverpool is perhaps more understandable than the prior defeats to West Ham and Aston Villa, it still raises huge question marks about Arsenal’s ability to rise to an occasion- which is odd considering Arsenal have won three out of the last four FA Cups and Community Shields.
The Gunners clearly have an ethos in the club that helps them win showcase finals and this sort of attitude needs to be taken into the Premier League campaign, not only helping on the opening day but also when Arsenal face their rivals both home and away.
On paper, Arsenal should certainly be able to brush aside Leicester City and the Gunners can’t really afford to slip-up as testing fixtures with Stoke City and Liverpool soon follow. The Premier League is certain to be extremely competitive this season so Wenger’s men need to avoid handing any sort of advantage to their rivals.