Arsene Wenger has called on Arsenal to build on their Community Shield victory against Chelsea by avoiding a bad start for their new Premier League season.
Wenger is under heavy criticism and scrutiny after signing a two‑year contract last May despite a campaign in which his side failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 1997.
However, he appeared an emboldened figure after his side overcame the champions at Wembley on Sunday via a 4-1 penalty shootout victory after the contest had ended 1-1 in normal time, culminating in Arsenal’s 15th community shield win.
The shootout was the first in this country to deploy the ABBA system. Following successive misses by Chelsea’s goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, and record signing, Alvaro Morata, Olivier Giroud scored the decisive spot kick for Arsenal to give them victory over Chelsea for the second time in 71 days following their triumph in the FA Cup final in May.
Still, Wenger believes that the victory counts as “an encouragement” and now wants his side to avoid their poor starts to the previous two Premier League campaigns, when they lost their opening fixtures on both occasions, in order to mount a serious Premier League title challenge.
“We want to find a balance between the confidence we can get out of this game and the urgency every Premier League game demands,” he said after the game against Chelsea.
“We had some bad starts recently but we have had intensity in our preparation, so let’s go into the Premier League with the same discipline, the same spirit and see where we can go.”