Arsenal are not out of it, Arsenal are not yet dethroned to the Europa League, yet they are still a long way to confirm their place in next season’s Champions league. I’m not making excuses for Arsenal’s poor image in the last 5-6 seasons; I’m just saying, how important, especially for Arsenal, is it to not secure a Champions league spot for once in 16 years? When I put it like that, it seems like something that can be shrugged off, and that’s what I’m going to build upon.
People will counter saying Arsenal has been in decline and this was coming. But it you look at it from another perspective, it’s what people say every year, yet for the last 5 seasons the Gunners have managed to finish above the sea level (3rd, 4th, 3rd, 4th, 3rd). Is this what consistency gets you? Over-skepticism? If Arsene Wenger had known that, maybe he would guide Arsenal to 5th place every now and then. On one hand, it’s 5th place, but on the other hand, it’s once (1) in 16 (yes, 16) years.
Critics, fans and media are already assuming Arsenal’s top-talent attraction is over. But if you look at it, teams like Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham have finished outside the top 4 and yet go out and buy some quality players. Liverpool signing Coutinho this January is one example or how about Tottenham, Arsenal have been outclassing them for ever, did they not sign Holtby?
Those clubs spend, yes, but the question isn’t if Arsenal spend enough; it’s if they are rich enough to spend ‘enough’. The answer is yes. Even if Arsenal do manage to finish outside the top 4 they will maintain their top-club reputation rather all it will do is open Wenger’s eyes to the importance of money these days. It has been said before a million times, but unlike previous years, this is the real scare. Not only is Arsenal on the line, it’s Arsene too, with his near-expiration contract. One slip from the top 4 category could be a deal breaker as we have already seen with Liverpool, the club has not been able to climb themselves back into the top 4 category. Wenger could end up resigning the job and with an already money minded board room above him, the new manager coming in could never really satisfy anyone.
Coming back to the results this weekend, both Arsenal and Tottenham have picked up 3 points while London rivals Chelsea lost their game at Southampton. As it stands, Spurs have moved into 3rd place with a 2 point lead over Chelsea and a 4 point lead over Arsenal but have played an extra game. It is turning out to be a real horse race in which no one can afford to slip-up. Looking at the fixtures, Arsenal have the easier of the two and have every chance of making it to the finish line provided if they can pull of their socks and avoid mistakes against weaker opposition.