Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has challenged his team to get off to a strong start this season to maintain a title push. The Gunners host West Ham United on Sunday in their opening English Premier League fixture with the Community Shield already in their trophy cabinet following last weekend’s 1-0 win over Chelsea.
The Blues are the champions and won the title at a canter last season, but Wenger has urged his players not to let the west Londoners get away from them this time around.
“Chelsea won it by a margin last year so they are the favourites,” he said. “After that let’s see how it goes. After 15 games you will know more about that.
“Last year, after 12 games we were 15 points behind Chelsea, and in the next 26 we took 58 points and Chelsea 55 – so that means we missed our start to the season because it was after the World Cup. So let’s start strong this season and I believe we have the needed ingredients.”
A fast start has been the hallmark of Jose Mourinho’s sides as it puts a huge amount of pressure on title contenders who take their time to ease into the new season. The fixture list is not easy for the Gunners with two London derbies and Liverpool in their first three games.
Asked if he thought Arsenal could win the title for the first time since 2004, Wenger was adamant.
“I believe yes, all going well, and us maintaining our game. That’s important as well – that we develop what we do well and do not stand still.
“That means we develop our cohesion, our passing game. If we are capable to keep the cohesion and the solidarity we have at the moment through the 38 games, we have a good chance.”