“These are very exciting times.
“I knew that the sensitive period would be after 2007 to 2012. We had to manage the Club very seriously without dropping off the top level.
“I knew that would be a very difficult period and a very important one - maybe the most important one of the recent history of the Club. But now we are in a more comfortable position.
When you play every three days that consistent fluency is more difficult to produce in every single game but what is important is that we have found the resources to win the game every time
“I still think that we need to continue to manage the Club financially in a very serious way. That is very important. But, as well, we have more resources than we had before.”
The extent of Arsène Wenger’s playing resource will be illustrated at West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday as Arsenal embark on this season’s Capital One Cup campaign.
The team’s form in the other two competitions has been faultless for well over a month now. Seven straight wins has not only taken Arsenal to the top of the Premier League table and Champions League Group F but it has also branded the opening-day defeat to Aston Villa with the label Wenger suggested it would eventually take on - a “blip”.
At the same time, the manager is aware that character has outshone cohesion at times. Arsenal are a well-functioning unit but the Frenchman is still looking for a little more panache in their play.
“We know that on the fluency front we can do better,” he said. “When you play every three days that consistent fluency is more difficult to produce in every single game but what is important is that we have found the resources to win the game every time. Still we know on the combinations front we can do better and we will get that back.”
Injuries have not helped and, on the eve of the trip to West Brom, it emerged that Theo Walcott was to undergo a procedure on his abdomen and would be missing until after the next international break.
The Englishman was never likely to be in the squad at The Hawthorns. Instead Wenger’s party broadly consists of three categories – the bench from Sunday’s win over Stoke, first-team players who were not used in the last set of internationals and the cream of the Club’s youngsters. The only obvious exception in the 18 is Per Mertesacker.
The pre-game story has centred on striker Nicklas Bendtner, who is set to make his first Arsenal start since March 5, 2011 in the 0-0 draw with Sunderland. His last goal came as part of a hat-trick against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup three days earlier.
In addition Wenger has an interesting choice to make in goal. Lukasz Fabianski needs a game having been kept out all season by Wojciech Szczesny’s fine form. But the former did suffer a nasal injury in training and new signing Emiliano Viviano has Serie A experience and Italian caps on his CV.
However, leaving aside the internationals, the Capital One Cup has become a highlight for fans because it spotlights emerging talent. It can be a glimpse of seasons to come. And you get the sense that the manager still gets a buzz out of youngsters coming through.
“They are developing well,” he said. “They have an opportunity to get in the first team through this competition and of course many training sessions.
“They are at an age now where from a good prospect you can become a good player. What will make you a good player is to show you can deal with pressure, you can be efficient, that you can integrate the quality of the Arsenal first team. The Capital One Cup is a fantastic opportunity for some young players because it always happens between two Champions League games. That rotation gives you a chance.”
Striker Serge Gnabry may well have shown enough against Stoke to keep his place. Chuba Akpom and Kris Olsson were mainstays of the tour to Asia.
“I like Chuba’s body strength, his technical quality and his desire to play for Arsenal,” said Wenger. “He has a big motivation level.
“And Kris has a creativity that is very interesting. Then there is his workrate, technical quality and his vision.”
Nicolas Anelka was first youngster of Wenger’s Arsenal reign to emerge as a major star. However, unlike the majority of those who followed, he was starting in the Premier League and in Europe before he made his League Cup bow.
Now 34, West Brom is the 11th club for this highly-gifted yet nomadic footballer. For Wenger, he remains the main threat in a side that have started slowly but picked up a vital 3-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday
What will make you a good player is to show you can deal with pressure, you can be efficient, that you can integrate the quality of the Arsenal first team. The Capital One Cup is a fantastic opportunity
“You do not play at the top level for such a long period [if you are not a danger],” he said. “He is not 40. He is 34 and that is quite young today.
“I'm happy when I can help anybody to launch his career, to give him a chance in life. I'm especially happy for having done that with him. He's had a great career. He started at Arsenal in a very stylish and convincing way.”
West Brom beat Newport 3-0 in the last round of the Capital One Cup retaining only a couple of players from the XI that had started the previous Premier League game.
Steve Clarke may well change his approach against a side who have their last 10 away game but Wenger feels they have the resources to cope.
“They have a massive squad,” he said. “They have a stability because last year they had the same players and they've added some players like Anelka. It's not average. What they had last year, players like Brunt, Dorrans and Yacob are quality players. Nobody likes to go to West Brom.”
However the Arsenal side - both those trying to re-establish a first-team slot and those who are trying to make an initial breakthrough - are sure to relish the occasion.
Arsenal: Rosicky (hamstring), Sanogo (back), Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Cazorla (ankle), Podolski (hamstring), Diaby (knee), Walcott (abdominal)
West Brom: Reid (calf), Gera (knee), Thorne (knee), Foster (foot)Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source