Arsenal: ‘no more excuses’
LONDON — Jack Wilshere insists Arsenal are desperate to put another dispiriting pre-season behind them and finally end the club’s eight-year trophy drought.
Last season finished promisingly as Arsenal claimed fourth place on the final day ahead of rivals Tottenham.
But the Gunners remain without silverware since 2005 and boss Arsene Wenger’s failure to land any major signings has added to the growing sense of unease ahead of today’s Premier League opener against Aston Villa.
The frustrating barren spell helps explain the discontent among the club’s supporters during periods when the team struggled last season and that will undoubtedly resurface if Wenger’s side again fail to challenge for major honours.
But England star Wilshere says there can be no more excuses for underachievement because Wenger’s squad have the talent and desire to restore the club to its former glory.
“We understand the fans’ frustration, because we care as well,” Wilshere said.
“Arsenal used to be a team that won everything, you know, trophies and titles. But now we haven’t won anything for eight years, so we know what we have to do.
“It’s time to start producing trophies and being closer to the top of the league at the end of the season.
“We don’t just want to be fighting for fourth place — we want to be up there with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. We feel we’re good enough to be there.”
Wilshere has been eased into action during pre-season, but should start against Villa after appearing for England against Scotland this week, although Theo Walcott is a more significant doubt after limping out of the Wembley clash.
Wenger needs every weapon at his disposal ahead of a testing opening week, with the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against Fenerbahce following four days after the Villa clash.