I think a big factor which is going to determine if at all we are successful at all this season is mental toughnesss. And Van Persie deals with it here -
"At this time, in football, the mental aspect is really important, maybe more than 30 or 40 per cent [of the game]. If you look at the matches against Bolton and Blackburn, the mental aspect was more important than the way we wanted to play.
“I do not think it is a real big problem for us but every single time we have to prove it again.
“Last season we played fantastic for three-quarters of the season and then suddenly everything fell down.
“I do not know if the reason was mentality, maybe it was a bit of everything, but we learned a lot from last year.
“The season is long. We've lost some points but we've won some as well so we just have to stay positive.”
While the lads did have to come back from a goal down, to win the game, it wasn't by far against the toughest of opposition. We were sluggish in the opening exchanges and indeed for most of the first half. It was only in the second half that we began to take control after the crucial goal by Samir Nasri. Maybe it was all the international travel, but maybe it was lack of real thrust and drive. And thats what I think will determine if we do win any cups this season. Do we have the drive? The team still needs to convince me of it. Again I am nit-picking a bit especailly after they came back to win against Everton. But I can't help but wonder if we do have have a determined driven bunch at the moment. We need some heads with real character to lead the young 'uns. To say we have no experienced campaigners in the squad will be stupid, but then again will they step up sufficiently? Well I haven't seen enough of that yet. We are just into the season, but we could have had a better starts, and can't afford too many more slip ups in the Prem. We need to show that we have real character from here to bomb on, even this early on.
Post Everton Le Boss speaks about Samir Nasri, who I think is one strong character and a vital cog in the present set up. Wenger is pleasantly suprised to note that he is settling down so well, saying-
"When you look at the impact he had already here you can say he’s ahead of what I planned for him.
"He’s 21, goes from France to England, and I must say I’m quite pleased with his attitude and his performances. He’s doing extremely well and he is already becoming an important player for us and that is why you do not want him to get injured."
Fabregas dismissed speculation that he had refused a contract at Arsenal with this here, read all about it , if you haven't already that is.
It's back to CL action for us tonight as we take on Turkish powerhouses Fenerbache in their own backyard. The fans there really create a 'cauldron' like atmosphere and is one of the toughest places to go to. I think we should be able to deliver there though, and I fancy us to come out on top. While a draw won't be too bad, I really think we can do one better.
The complete squad for this game is available here. We will have Djourou and Bendner back for this one, but missing all but Clichy of our starting back four. That could mean a Djourou and Silvestre partnership at the centre, while I really hope that Arsene deploys Eboue at right back, if he gets into the team at all that is. We all know that Eboue will though.
That's about that for now. A win today will put us well on track and restore a lot of much needed confidence. The game is a 1945 kickoff Uk time and a 0015 kickoff for viewers in India, who can watch it on Zee Sports.
Come on you Gunners!