London (AFP) - Arsene Wenger pleaded with Arsenal fans to stay united after his side made a statement of intent with their Community Shield victory over Chelsea on Sunday.
After spending much of last season under fire from supporters frustrated by Arsenal's travails, Gunners boss Wenger hopes the new campaign will be a far less turbulent affair.
Despite winning the FA Cup at the end of last term, Wenger's decision to sign a new contract proved a polarising move among the Arsenal faithful, who remain angered by their team's failure to qualify for this season's Champions League.
Wenger has already been subjected to a fan invading the pitch in an attempt to abuse him during a pre-season friendly and against that troubled backdrop, the Frenchman was relieved to start the new season with a morale-boosting win over champions Chelsea at Wembley.
A 4-1 penalty shoot-out victory rewarded Arsenal for an encouraging display in the 1-1 draw and Wenger was quick to call for unity in the stands ahead of Friday's Premier League opener against Leicester.
"I would like they stand behind the team as we might go through some very good periods and some not so good periods," he said.
"We want to be united and together throughout the season.
"Every game is a battle in the Premier League, like today. It is a dream to make the fans happy, a difficult dream but we try hard."
Wenger has now won the Community Shield seven times, but it has been seven years since Manchester United became the last winners of the curtain-raiser to go on to lift the Premier League trophy.
After a strong first half, Arsenal fell behind to a Victor Moses goal in the 46th minute.
But Chelsea had Pedro sent off in the closing stages and Arsenal equalised through new signing Sead Kolasinac's 82nd-minute header.
"Well, I don't know if it was a sending off or not, but at that moment we were dominating," Wenger said.
"We had some difficult moments at the start of the second half, but after that we dominated. We always looked dangerous."