Pre-season top rated Arsenal were put through a harsh reality check by their London rivals, West Ham United who confounded them with a 2-0 thumping at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper appeared cheeky when Cheikhou Kouyate nodded West Ham into the lead in the 43rd minute. And Arsenal looked every inch vulnerable as their new campaign went underway after a highly promising pre-season.
Then Mauro Zarate struck dagger across the hearts of Arsenal fans when he cowed the Gunners back-line with a perfect strike in the 57th minute.
A disconsolate Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger blamed the humiliation on an unexpected opening day nervousness on the part of his players.
“The players were maybe too nervous and put too much pressure on themselves,” Wenger was quoted as saying by AFP. “We were not convincing offensively or defensively.
“I knew it could be a tricky game. We know fitness wise, West Ham were ahead of us, they had already played competitive games. You never have the same intensity as them.
“But if you can’t win the game, make sure you don’t lose it.
“We have been hurt mentally and it is a good opportunity to respond. We will respond to that accident.”
Wenger also said of Petr Cech’s showing against West Ham.
“It is not only him, we have enough experience at the back. The mistake was a collective one,” Wenger said.
“I can’t see many convincing performances today. I haven’t spoken to him yet.
“The concentration was maybe not there and the organisation wasn’t there. We gave them too much space to run into.”
“I know we have a good team but I wasn’t sure how we were going to show it,” the Croatian said.
“It’s great start for us against a team that are title contenders.
“This is very special. I’m very proud of the second half performance.”