Friday 1 January 2016

Winning the English Premier League

I get really upset when I read some comments on social media. Especially the Wenger Out Brigade who believe that winning a league should be a stroll in the park. Some even going as far as stating that Arsenal's inability to stroll this year's premier league is evidence of the fact that Wenger is finished as a top top Manager.

Personally, I think many should be licensed before they are allowed to assault public sensibilities with their opinions and comments. The cheek of it, when football fans believe they know more about managing a football team than a manager with some considerable experience or when same fans believe they know more about running a football club than the professional managers at the helm.

In fact never mind Twitter licences, I think football clubs like Arsenal should be able to ban or suspend some peoples' right to support the club. In real life, if you are a public nuisance, the law enforcement agencies can 'slap' you with an Anti Social Behaviour Order of some sort.

So why can't Arsenal ban or suspend someone like Piers Morgan from supporting the club because he is a nuisance. Because he is divisive. Because he has absolutely no clue about running a football club or managing one and believes his opinion matters one bit. Because he has backed Gary Monk, Jose Mourinho as potential successors to Arsene Wenger and those two are currently deemed unemployable by any club.

When Arsenal were in the same position as they are now two seasons ago, I had several heated and emotional conversations (make that shouting matches) with my friends. My objective back then and in this season filled with promise is for Arsenal to remain competitive. As a football fan, that is what you should ask for. You can't ask that your team should 'stroll' the league. That's wishful thinking.

Have some clubs strolled to winning the league in the past? Yes definitely. PSG are currently strolling the Ligue 1 but don't forget their main rivals are fighting some demons of their own (serves them right for not knowing their place in last year's Champions League.  I'm waiting for when they will appoint an administrator. If I'm one of the administrators we will sell their stadium for a pound and convert the place it into a rubbish tip)

Anyway, back to strolling the league. Sir Alex strolled the league in his final season. Yes and many have said this is down to Man City not putting up a fight / proper defence of their title.

Chelsea strolled to the league championship last season is something you will often hear. I however disagree. I will concede that Chelsea strolled the first half of the season. However until they got a point at the Emirates their title winning wasn't certain. Once they lost 3 - 5 to Spurs 12 months ago, they went back to grinding out results not strolling the league.

In the 2 sometimes 3 horse race that is the La Liga, none of the sides stroll the league. the difference in the last 2 seasons has been a maximum of 3 points and this season appears to be following the same template and this is despite the breathtaking attacking talent in Barcelona's possession. Of course 3 seasons ago, Barcelona won by 15 points but guess what?  The human wrecking machine that is Jose Mourinho was deploying his demolition ball to the maximum effect inside the Real Madrid dressing room.

So back to my strolling the league issue. I don't think any team can stroll the league in a competitive league like this latest incarnation of the Barclays Premier League. It is impossible because of the nature of competitive football when 11 competitive men of lesser ability can take on 11 top class footballers and defeat them. It wont always happen but football folklore is made of such legendary occurrence.

Football matches are much too often decided by moments of brilliance, inexplicable errors gifting the other side an advantage, weird injuries, unexplained refereeing decisions etc. Each or any of these can cost you the points that ensures you don't win the league no matter how good your team is.

What I ask of my team, what I am expecting of Arsenal in any league season is for them to be competitive. If your team is competitive, the mental toughness needed to last the long haul is a given (in my opinion). The dice of all the 'unpredictables' in a football match tend to roll in your favour. You are more likely to be able to capitalise when others falters. At the end of the marathon that is the league, you are there or thereabouts and hopefully if you hold your nerve at the death you might win it.

I happened to be listening to a man earlier this year when he appeared on Radio. A man who knows a few things about winning titles.  Nigel Winterburn appeared on Talksport Radio on 2nd of June 2015 and said in part "Winning the title is about small margins and a bit of luck. If you are 2 or 3 points behind the leaders in April, that's a title challenge".

I am lad Arsenal is challenging. Of course I want us to win the league. I hope we do and look forward to it. But I think those who expect their team to stroll the league or expect their team to win a league do not really understand what is required to win.

Come on Arsenal


  1. Strolling the league is a phenomenon that comes around every once in a while. But it's quite illogical to expect that in the present season. I suspect it's a term bandied about by non Arsenal fans in hopes of future trolling

  2. This season is certainly not stroll able! The improved revenues of 'lesser' teams has closed the gap with hitherto top sides. Arsenal just needs to be a tad less inconsistent than their peers....then stroll they can..