Arsene Wenger has stressed the importance of having the trust of the Arsenal support, as the Londoners look to continue their excellent form.
It seems a long time ago since the opening day of the current season, when the home fans at the Emirates Stadium booed their own team off the field following a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa. Back then they pleaded with Wenger to “spend some f*****g money”, something he then did when he smashed the club transfer record for Mesut Ozil.
The arrival of the £42.5million playmaker is seen as a real landmark moment for the club, and he has been an instant hit having settled into the first team with aplomb. It also seems to have given the other players a lift, and since that loss to Villa, Arsenal have won their last five Premier League matches as well as both of their UEFA Champions League matches, and have also progressed into the fourth round of the League Cup.
The atmosphere amongst the supporters has also been boosted in recent weeks, with many believing their long wait for silverware could finally reach an end this season. And this, Wenger believes, is in turn giving the players confidence. Speaking ahead of the potentially difficult trip to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, the French coach has revealed the importance the supporters can play in the success of the team.
“When the team has confidence, they go into a game with a positive feeling and a positive attitude,” he said on the Sky Sports website. “What is positive is that the team plays better when the environment is positive. We played in a sceptical environment last year and that does not create a great level of confidence. What has changed recently for sure is that our environment is positive, our fans believe in us again.
“That of course is very important if we want to be successful. I have said many times that I feel it is important for the team to feel that the fans stand completely behind the team. It is my job to make the fans happy. I feel I do that if they stand behind the team, because that gives you the feeling that they have done something right.”
Arsenal will travel to the Hawthorns without France international Bacary Sagna, who has been ruled out for three weeks with a hamstring injury. This will likely give England’s Carl Jenkinson the opportunity to slot in at right fullback, a position in which he excelled in during the early stages of last term. Santi Cazorla, meanwhile, remains sidelined with the ankle problem which has kept him out since the start of last month.