Drawing from his own experience, O’Hara claimed that pre-season results were often misleading, as “big players” only stepped up in big competitive fixtures.
London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea squared off in the Florida Cup final on July 23 at the Camping World Stadium. Mikel Arteta’s side ran circles around Thomas Tuchel’s men, cruising to a comfortable 4-0 win.
In the post-match interview, Tuchel shockingly claimed that he was not confident that his team would be ready in two weeks’ time (via Goal).
O’Hara, however, played down the result, hilariously claiming that even he felt like Pep Guardiola after winning a few pre-season matches while serving as Billericay’s manager.
On the topic of pre-season results, he told talkSPORT:
“When I was Billericay manager, I was like Pep Guardiola in pre-season. We won every game. I was like ‘oh my God, this team I’ve got together is insane’… we lost the first four games of the season.
“What’s going on?! Pre-season means nothing. Pre-season is about fitness, getting the group together, making sure everyone is on the same page, making sure everyone is better.”
O’Hara claimed that big players rarely step up in friendly fixtures. He added:
“Once the season starts, big players, big games, that’s when they step up. Not in pre-season. You don’t win a trophy in pre-season.”
Goal-front sharpness is the main difference between Chelsea and Arsenal
Pre-season fixtures are meant to be taken lightly, but they do end up giving us a preview of what to expect from the upcoming season.
We have seen first-hand where Chelsea and Arsenal sit since the start of the pre-season, and there is indeed a concerning issue with Thomas Tuchel’s side.
Signing Gabriel Jesus and extending Edward Nketiah’s contract, the Gunners have made real strides to solve their goalscoring problem.
The Blues, on the other hand, have only brought in Raheem Sterling, who although an exceptional player, does not have a proven track record as a center-forward.
Chelsea are yet to find a striker to fill in for Romelu Lukaku, and unless that is solved, they could continue to struggle in the attacking third of the pitch.
Arsenal, on the other hand, must find a way to maintain the chemistry they have found. It could be their key to ensuring a top-four finish in the Premier League at the end of the 2021-22 season.