Arsene Wenger brokered a fragile truce with Arsenal’s dissenting fans by winning the FA Cup, but has little margin for error ahead of tonight’s Premier League opener against Leicester City.
Last season was by far the most difficult of Wenger’s 21-year tenure as manager, with Arsenal’s on-pitch travails exposing him to furious protests from sections of the club’s support. Having ended months of speculation by signing a new two-year contract, he is looking forwards and says that if the team put on a united front, the fans will fall into line behind them.
“A lot (of the trouble) was created by my own situation. Maybe I made a mistake. Overall I believe that it’s down to us. The trend has always to come from the team,” Wenger said after Arsenal beat Chelsea in the Community Shield.
Undermining Wenger’s quest for harmony is the uncertainty surrounding several first-team players — Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere. That Wenger is not going into the new campaign with the fans still at his throat owes much to Arsenal’s strong finish to last season. After Wenger belatedly adopted a 3-4-2-1 formation — a tactical trend sparked by champions Chelsea — Arsenal won seven of their last eight league games and stunned Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final.
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