Manager Arsene Wenger believes how his squad respond to the opening day disaster against Aston Villa will shape their season.The Gunners were booed off after they lost 3-1 at home to an industrious Villa side, finishing with 10 men following the dismissal of defender Laurent Koscielny for a second yellow card just minutes after he had conceded a controversial penalty.
Wenger was criticised by some home fans - with banners of “spend, spend, spend” and calls to splash the cash as frustrations around Emirates Stadium boiled over.
After failing to land any major summer transfer targets despite declarations by chief executive Ivan Gazidis the club were ready to escalate their financial firepower, with some £180million in the bank, it was hardly the ideal warm-up ahead of Wednesday night’s first leg of a crucial Champions League play-off against Fenerbahce at the intimidating Sukru Saracoglu stadium.
Wenger, though, will use the next few days to focus on all things positive.
“There is always a lot of dangers in a team because it is a human activity multiplied by 25, the negativity can become quick and spread quickly,” said Wenger, who saw defenders Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna as well as England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added to the injury list yesterday.
“It is the first game of the season and we want to bounce back.
“I believe our season will depend on how we respond to this defeat.”
Wenger added: “After such a disappointing start that will be difficult, but we will bounce back because the spirit and the focus in the team is good.
“We missed chances, were unlucky and had injuries, roll the three together and it is a fragile position, but the difference between us and the rest is not massive.”
Arsenal, who missed out on the signature of Gonzalo Higuain earelier this summer and have not been able to secure a deal for Luis Suarez with Liverpool, will have to make do with whatever side they can pull together next week, having now passed the UEFA deadline for registering new players.
Wenger, though, insists Arsenal’s problems will not be solved by just simply spending for the sake of it.
“You can go up the Eiffel tower and throw the money away, but you play with the players you have,” he said.
“What is important is to rebuild the confidence of the team before Wednesday night.
“That is a massive game for us. In the next two or three days I will focus on that and let people around me work on the rest.”