Q&A with Jules Wheeler about Arsenal, the match and the upcoming season
Crystal Palace play Arsenal this Sunday, and as ever, we chat to an opposition fan before the game. Just like last season, our choice of Gunners fan is Jules Wheeler (@TheRealGunner). We asked her a few questions about the game and the season ahead:
Questions in Bold.
I think you will agree with me when I say a lot of fans were surprised by Arsenal last season. Do you think you can go one better in the Premier League this time around?
I think that we have definitely saved a few points each season in buying Petr Cech (Sun result discarded by the way!). I still think we need another 1 or 2 players but hopefully, Arsene [Wenger] will sort that out by deadline day. We have a good squad now and are pretty strong in every area so I expect us to put up a good fight this year.
How about in the Champions League?
I think we can progress as long as we stay focused. We have a squad of players now who want to play for each other. A really good team spirit and the quality to match. Lack of concentration cost us last season against Monaco at home. We have to learn from those mistakes.
There has been plenty of talk about the position of Arsene Wenger at the club but do you think he answered a few critics last season and with that, bought himself some time with those fans in particular?
I think it just goes to show that [Arsene] Wenger will spend a lot of money on the right players. I also think that despite what the club said, a few years ago, he simply did not have the money to spend. We were in a bit of trouble and desperately needed some quality players but Wenger did not spend the money as many think he should have. My personal opinion is that he just did not have it to spend which is why he did not spend it. He loves the club so much that there is no way that he would deliberately sabotage the club and everything he had worked for by not spending money that was there.
Have the club done the business you expected during the summer or do you think there is more to do?
I expected a bit more business to be done by now. There is still some to be done but I expect Wenger to wait until the end to get the best deal he can (Typical Arsene!). We need a top finisher and either a defensive midfielder and/or a centre back.
Do you think the top sides such as Arsenal face a dilemma when challenging on four fronts each season?
It does make it difficult and can put clubs at a disadvantage, as playing 2 games a week means that players can get tired and are more injury prone. It gives other clubs an advantage as they may not have so many games to play so can rest their players. It also exposes weaknesses in certain areas if clubs have failed to strengthen. It means having a big squad of top quality players and prioritising certain competitions over others at the early stages. There is so much at stake these days with prize money, TV money and commercial deals, that unfortunately, that’s the price that you pay for being successful and the risk you have to take.
Who do you think will win the major domestic trophies this season – Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup?
Premier League – Arsenal (or Manchester City)
FA Cup – Chelsea
League Cup – Manchester United
It’s so difficult to predict cup winners as they are one-off games and it can just be down to who wants it more on the day. In the last few years, clubs from the lower leagues have progressed and were fighting it out to near the end. Not because they had better squads, just because they wanted it more on the day.
Is there a feeling that English clubs are likely to perform better in European competition this season?
That would be nice! I think we always go into it with hope but somehow stumble along the way. It would be nice to see English clubs give the German/Spanish clubs a real run for their money.
What do you think of Palace ahead of the new season in terms of how we have done and what you expect from us?
You did well at the weekend and I hope you continue to do so (just not against Arsenal) as I have always had a soft spot for Palace. I also think that you have a good player in Cabaye.
Which Palace player do you think Arsenal should be wary of and vice versa?
For Palace, possibly [Wilfried] Zaha. He had a good game last week and some great moments.
For Arsenal, Alexis [Sanchez]. He has the enthusiasm that knows no limits and a real passion for the game. Plus…that odd bit of skill and talent!
2-0 to Arsenal
And finally, please tell us about any projects that you are currently working on.
I’ve been asked to do some work with Arsenal and Europcar this season. They are a good company and are keen to do more for the fans with events and competitions etc. I’ve also got another exciting TV project in the pipeline. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to say too much at the moment though…sorry!