The new EPL season has just started (well, it officially started yesterday, but for me, as an Arsenal fan, it just started today). And from what I saw of the team today, it was quite encouraging. I’m quietly confident about the new season. For a few reasons.
Firstly, the unity in the team is amazing. It seems like without the pressure of a single superstar player (Thierry Henry), the rest of the team are pulling together as a unit. No offense to Henry, I really like him as a player, I think he’s a brilliant player, but he seemed almost to have become bigger than the club. Last season it felt almost as if everything the team did was for him, in terms of creating chances, etc. There seems to be more unity this season and that can only be good for the club. It was really good to see the players huddle together at the end of the game.
Secondly, there is less external pressure on the team. This also has to do with Henry leaving. With less pressure, the players are less afraid of failure, and are playing with more freedom. When Henry was at the club, if a pass was misplaced, the culprit would receive a cold glare. I can’t help but think that that wasn’t good for the team. Without it, there seems to be less pressure, the players are less afraid of failure, they are more willing to take risks.
Thirdly, the confidence of the players. Players like Van Persie, Gallas, Fabregas have all come out pre-season and talked about their confidence in the team and how they believe that they can and will challenge for the title. The confidence is really good, and it’s a really important element.
Lastly, the drive. In the same interviews, you could hear from the players how they want to prove the critics wrong and how the want to win the league. And in today’s game against Fulham, you could see that they wanted the win. They pushed on, and they didn’t settle for just the equalizer, even though it was late in the game. They weren’t willing to settle for anything less than the win.
4 really good signs the team are showing that is giving me confidence that the club can succeed this season.
And they are traits we should apply to our own lives as well, I believe. Beyond soccer, in everything we do, those 4 traits are always good, and will always help you succeed. Working well with the people around you, building the right relationships; being willing to take risks without being afraid of failure; being optimistic and believing in yourself; having the passion to go all the way and the drive to not settle for anything less than the best.
I’m hoping Arsenal will succeed this season, and I am confident they will. And I believe you will succeed if you apply those 4 principles to whatever you do.