Are we title contenders? by AndersS
Without any true data, I will take a chance and state that only a small minority of Arsenal fans believe we will win the title this season, despite our current lead. I wonder if that minority is bigger or smaller than the one saying there is absolutely no chance?
My guess is there are most don’t think we will win the title, but that it could actually happen through a combination of our strength and some luck.
Personally, this is my belief. I don’t think we will win the title, but I am starting to think, we have at least a fifty-fifty chance of finishing above all other teams than Man City. And if Man City is the only team, which looks like leaving us trailing, is it then totally impossible that they might not? Of course not.
Although unlikely, any number of things could put a dent in their league superiority; Injuries to key players, complacency, too much focus on Champions League, loss of inspiration from Guardiola, Guardiola falling out with the owners because he wants to go back to Barcelona – or something else completely.
As mentioned, I don’t think any of those will actually happen, but it is not 100% impossible.
A lot of people, not just Arsenal fans, are looking at the table, and possibly concluding Arsenal looks like the only team, who can challenge City.
But are we true title contenders?
This question seems to be discussed, without any real consensus as to what is a title contender? Obviously, in this moment of time, you could say that as we are leading the league, we are obviously contenders. But is that the answer then? Or do we, when we discuss if we are title contenders, try to factor in if we can continue to sustain a challenge?
Let me ask you a question, how many teams were title contenders last season?
My immediate answer would be only Liverpool were actual title contenders along with the winners, City. Chelsea were third, but they finished 19 points behind City, and they were all but mathematically without any real chance of winning the league several weeks before the end of season. I wouldn’t say they were title contenders. Would you?
But how close do you need to be to be named title contenders? Is it a matter of the points, you finish behind? Is it only a matter of position, so that if you finish second, but 15 points behind the winners, have you then been true contenders?
I dare you to try to make up your mind. What is the definition of being title contenders?
Using that definition, when was then the last time Arsenal challenged for the title????
Since we won the league in 03/04, here is how many points, we finished behind the champions:
04/05 – 12 p.
05/06 – 24 p.
06/07 – 21 p.
07/08 – 4 p.
08/09 – 18 p.
09/10 – 11 p.
10/11 – 12 p.
11/12 – 19 p.12/13 – 16 p.
13/14 – 7 p.
14/15 – 12 p.
15/16 – 10 p.
16/17 – 18 p.
17/18 – 37 p.
18/19 – 28 p.
19/20 – 43 p.
20/21 – 25 p.
21/22 – 24 p.
Personally, I don’t think you can be considered to have been true title contenders if you finished 10 or more points behind the winners. Maybe with a mall exception as to when you fell behind. You could possible make a case for saying, if you were only 4-5 points behind with 2 games to play, you were actually contending, but loosing the last couple of games meant the points difference showed a bigger gap than your ability to challenge the eventual winners.
Either way, looking at all those seasons since we last won the league, there are possibly only 2 years that we were title contenders; 07/08 and 13/14. Sure, we had all those years, where we finished in top 4 and made it to the CL. But we almost never contended for the title.
After all, isn’t it the title we are really after?
I have previously written my hopes for this season are that we can narrow the gap to the winners from the 24 points last year, to maybe 10-15, as this would constitute true progress in terms of getting closer to the title. It would be a stepping stone for further progress and becoming title contenders again. Once you are actual title contenders, you make it probable that you can win.
All the league winners need a bit of luck also, but unless you plan on a miracle, it is the strength to be title contenders which will give you the realistic chance.
So I ask you 2 things:
- What is the definition of being true title contenders?
- Do you think, Arsenal will qualify to be title contenders according to your definition?
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