Our plan is working, but we won’t win the title just yet
Before the first round of the PL, I was reading somewhere, that according to a survey done by BT Sport 22% of Arsenal fans believed we will win the league this season.
If that was correct, a few extra percent have possibly been added after our win in the first round.
Honestly, I am a bit surprised, so many actually believe we will win it, and I admit, I am not one of them.
As written in an earlier article, I think, we might possibly have a team which can be contenders in 2-3 years.
It is very early in the season and one game is not anything to form or change an opinion on, I think.
But there are some conclusions we can make.
1) Missing out on CL football doesn’t seem to have hampered our transfer business
This was a real risk, I think.
First of all, we are again one the biggest spenders, that is a fact. We are really showing ability and ambition by investing a lot of money in the team.
It is also my opinion that we seem to have been able to attract some of the very best players available for the positions, where we had the need.
I am sure that one or two more would make it even better, but a very successful window now very much hinges on our ability not to lose one or two as well, and just as much probably hinges on our ability to cut the size of the squad by only losing players we don’t seem to need.
2) Our strategy is 100% intactA lot of players, have been named as transfer targets. But I think, it was very predictable that we would only go for players who have a profile to fit into our youth strategy. I will be very surprised, if we were to sign any player older than 25 in the current window. I can only see it happening if we suddenly find ourselves in a situation, where we desperately need to get cover for a position hit by long term injuries or something like that.The strategy remains 100% in place, and I can only assume it is agreed and backed by all decision makers in the organization.
3) We have the youngest squad in the league
This is of course very much a natural consequence of no 2). In the first round the average age of the players, we used, is 23.9. That is the lowest age average. The highest was Liverpool with 27.6 years.
A cynic will say; “what does it matter? What matters is, how we do.” That is of course correct.
It is also correct that we haven’t challenged for the title for xx years. Even the year Leicester won it with only 81 points (15/16), and all the normal contenders had a really bad season, we were hardly challenging, as we were too far behind already with 7-8 games to play.
As I see it, although we also in earlier years spent a lot of money, we couldn’t keep up with the spending power of City, Chelsea and Man U. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a strategy and plan, which potentially could make up for that gap in spending power.
Liverpool had a plan, and have executed it to near perfection, and they have been able to compete.
It is this context our youth strategy is important.
Because that is our plan to close the gap, along with our very decent spending on new players.
It is said footballers reach their peak around 27 years of age. This is of course only statistics, and behind those numbers there is a difference in what position the players have and there are of course individual differences. But the fact of the matter is, there is an age where the combination of physical ability, experience, mental hunger/ambition etc. reaches it’s peak, and then generally goes down.
With an average age of 23.9, we have several years where our players can get a lot better. In theory this could work, and I am all for the try, as I don’t see any point in continuing the past 10-12 year’s way of doing things. We were not only being left behind by those already in front of us, we were also being overtaken by the likes of Liverpool and Spurs, who used to be behind us.If we want to compete for the title, we have to try. That is real ambition, I think.
However, there are consequences. We are all-in on the strategy, the owner, the management and the manager/coach. There is risk and responsibility for everyone involved, as they all are behind it.
Arteta has his job as long as the club/owner thinks he is the right man to execute his part of the plan. And as the owner very much seem to be all for the plan, it will actually take a lot to throw it overboard. Because it is not just about getting another manager, it is about the whole plan and strategy. It would be very difficult to see a manager with a history of only short periods at the same club, like Mourinho or Conte, suddenly being in charge of long term development.
We have chosen our plan. It sets us apart from all other top clubs at the moment, and whether you are for or against, that is the reality, and it will continue unless it goes totally haywire anytime soon.
Some say, we must achieve top 4 this year otherwise Arteta must be sacked. I don’t know, if the owner sees it that way. After all, the owners opinion really is the one that matters.
Personally, I expect us to close the gap to the eventual title winners to 15 points or less, and not because all the other “normal” title contenders blow up like in 15/16. Rather by our own improvement getting us more points and taking more points off the top teams.
Last season we lost both games to both no. 1 and 2 in the league, City and Liverpool. If we were to win 3 points from our games against them, it would alone mean a six point improvement, if indeed they finish 1 and 2 again.
I think it is a realistic goal to get closer to the top step by step. The plan can work, and it is very exciting to see, if it will.
CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link…