By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger will not resort to video nasties to rev his team up for the new season.

Arsenal stalled on the grid at the start of last year’s Premier League race, losing five of their first 14 games against Fulham, Stoke, Hull, Aston Villa and Manchester City.

The defeat at Craven Cottage on the second weekend of the season was particularly disappointing as Brede Hangeland arrived unmarked to head the winner from a corner.

Arsenal cannot afford another stuttering start with trips to Everton and both Manchester clubs in the first month of the season. But Wenger sees no reason to re-live the horrors of that August afternoon in Fulham.

"Usually I believe that it's not just them... you do not show the players how bad they are,” said the manager at his pre-match press conference.

“We want to show them to believe and we will work on their confidence. After that Fulham game last year we didn't lose many games at home and Fulham showed that they could beat anybody.”

One of the features of last season was the rise of the Premier League’s ‘middle-tier’ of clubs. Villa, Everton, Fulham, West Ham and others took plenty of points off the elite teams and the phenomenon did not escape Wenger’s attention.

“The miracle of last year is that Man United, for example, lost away games as well, but they did better at home than any other team,” he said.

“It's the first time since I have been in England that a team wins only once against the top 10 teams away from home and still becomes champions.

“Last year Man United made the difference at home. They won 16 home games and everybody else won a maximum of 13.”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
14 Aug 2009