On eve of another season, what should we expect from Arsenal?

When late goals put an end to Fulham’s resistance at the Emirates in last season’s opening game of the season, it changed the whole face of Arsenal Football Club.

Suddenly, the young Gunners, shorn of the talisman, Thierry Henry, believed in themselves and the confidence that flowed through them swept everyone aside in those opening few months. Sadly, you win nothing at Christmas.

But even that day, until our late flourish, there was a feeling of déjà vu that we had dominated a game, let in a soft goal and found ourselves chasing a game we should have cruised.


The year before, against Aston Villa, it was much the same and only Gilberto’s late goal spared our blushes. Those were the first opening day points we’d dropped since 2000 – and you have to go back to 1993 when we lost our opening game on home soil –against the mighty Coventry.


This season, more of our experienced players have left, and we don’t even have the guidance of ‘senior’ players such as Cesc to dictate the play. It will be left to Willie Gallas and the forwards to ensure the younger players stick to their game and ensure a positive start to the season against West Brom...


Arsene Wenger’s strategy always seems to be that attack is the best form of defence – and tomorrow we have to show that we mean business against a side who won a lot of fans for their own impressive brand of football in the Championship.


If Theo Walcott starts on the right, if Manu Adebayor and RVP can convert the chances and the defence remains wily enough to resist what will be a weakened Baggies forward line, with Luke Moore out injured, we should be alright.


Not for us, the swagger of expectancy, especially after Wednesday night. That’s what sets us apart from Ch*vski and M*nchester United – true belief.


We know we’re good, we just hide it well. Maybe that’s why Gooners are notoriously quiet compared to fans at some of the other grounds around the country.


If Wenger really is to stick with kids this season, he needs his forwards to kill games off early on, allowing the team to drop a couple of notches and protect the health and fitness of key personnel.


If we ever get into three goal leads with 25 minutes to go, what better time, especially with seven substitutes, to blood the youngsters and start to prepare them for the toughest level of football they will ever encounter, rather than wait until our season is over and a further period of transition allows for such indulgences.


We will win tomorrow. I have no doubt.


But for the fans’ sake, Arsene, there are, sadly, a lot of Gooners out there who don’t believe in this team – just look at the comments on our site.


For us, Arsenal is a love affair – let’s have some fireworks tomorrow to put the spark and the passion back.