So, I been putting off writing this post due to the inevitable accusations of negativity and of having an agenda.
Yet as the Gunners continue to win most weeks, I have to commit my opinion to something.
I am delighted to finally say I enjoy watching Arsenal again, we have an ethos and an identity, and I am relieved to see players proud to wear the red and white shirt.
That’s a credit to our manager. I maintain that if Mikel Arteta returns us to the Champions League, I will say ‘job well done’.
He uses a word I like right now called ‘humble’ perhaps sensing that Gooners are in danger of getting carried away?
See, there is a difference between confidence and arrogance and there’s something quite arrogant about the notion that we have closed a 24-point gap between us and Man City, based on 8 fixtures for evidence.
Take the emotion out of things, if it were a rival fan talking like some of our fanbase have been, we would accuse them of being disillusioned and wishing them to fall flat on their face?
Not just will we not become Champions this season, we won’t end up anywhere near Pep Guardiola’s men.
There will be a point in this campaign where we look back at talk of a title challenge and seem a little silly. I’d rather commit my point of view how then be wise after the fact.
Here’s why we can’t Win the Prem…….
Sir Alex Ferguson famously said he didn’t take notice of the table till Feb/ March. He knew his teams traditionally played well in the home straight, so as long as they were in a fairly strong positions that’s all he cared about.
In other words where you are in October is kind of irrelevant.
I remember the likes of a Sunderland and Charlton being top near Xmas, I don’t recall picking them to win the title.
In November 2013 we beat Liverpool in our 10th Prem fixture to go 5 points clear …….we finished 4th!
After 8 matches 12 months ago, Chelsea were top and ended up third.
Brighton were 4th but a bid to qualify for the Champions League never materialised.
Been Here Before
It’s been nearly two decades since we were last Champions.
In that time there have been occasions where we got to Xmas top, and it led to nothing.
In January 2008 we were five points clear but ended up third.
In 2010 were two points off top but finished 4th.
We were top on boxing Day in 2013 but fell away to 4th.
We were two points off top on Xmas Day in 2015 but ended up behind Leicester.
In other words, this isn’t unfamiliar territory.
We have been in this position before with a lot more games played, and simply bottled it ….
Who have we faced?
Let me stress we can only beat who is in front of us so I’m not taking away what these players have done so far.
Yet when we went away from home to a ‘big six’ rival we again lost, looking naive.
Yes, we beat Spurs last week but take the emotion out of everything, we always beat them at home, they have won once in our stadium In nearly three decades.
We are improving in fixtures where you have to scrap for the points, winning at grounds we maybe would have been bullied at in previous years.
Yet we await that result where we put our flag in the hand.
That’s why this Sunday feels so significant.
Last season we knew if we won at the Lane we would qualify for the Champions League.
Even after a 3-0 drubbing we knew our fate was still in our own hands.
Given what was at stake it’s inexcusable that we could be that bad at Newcastle.
The truth is the pressure of the top 4 chase got the better of us.
Like Roy Keane pointed out; if we are at a point in our history where just finishing 4th is something seen as too big a mental hurdle then how far have, we fallen?
It’s not a critique because, apart from Southampton, we still possess the youngest team in the division. So logically at times we will lack leadership.
Jesus and Zinchenko have brought in a winning mindset, but it’s still mostly the same players who choked in May.
Can they now logically cope with the pressure the run in brings?
It’s romantic to talk about in in the winter, but in reality, actually getting over that line is a huge step.
The points tally Man City have set over the years means from the New Year onwards you have to win every few days, even a draw is a crisis.
If players froze when the price was 4th, how will they now magically cope when the whole Prem is at stake?
It’s too big a step for now…
Again, there’s a big difference between having a squad who flirt with 4th compared to one who finish 1st.
As I have alluded to before, the standards set in previous seasons means you need to be getting 90 plus points to be considered potential champions.
Having to win every few days physically and mentally means you need to be able to rotate.
Outside of our first XI we don’t have talent at the standard to be lifting the Prem.
If anything happens to Jesus we are relying on Eddie Nketiah, who is yet to prove he can consistently score at this level
Partey (injury prone) gets a knock, he’s replaced by Lokonga, again a youngster.
Many fans argued this is the summer that too much pressure was put on young shoulders.
Jesus and Zinchenko changed this slightly but to be Champions, we need so much more.
The counter argument is that Leicester once won the title, so why can’t Arsenal have their own fairy tale?
Of course, they can ….
It’s just that the Foxes are very much the exception to the rule.
Look at history of this league and most of the time, logically the team with the best players win the thing.
Man, City are so much better than us, it’s a slap in the face to everything they have achieved to suggest that a group of players who have finished 8th, 8th and 5th are suddenly equal to them.
Put it like this, how many of our players get in City’s first 11.
I argue for one? And that’s being kind
Again, it doesn’t make you less of a fan if you think we are not good enough to win the title. Just because you love the badge doesn’t mean you have to say what your peers want you to say.
Let’s not lose sight of what our target should be.
Arsenal have to return to the Champions League. Finishing in the top 4 or winning the Europa League would be expectations met for this season.
That’s how I’m looking at things. Getting points on the board early could be the difference between 4th and 5th.
Opening a gap now could afford us any buckling of pressure in the run in.
Do you honestly think Arsenal can win the title?
CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link…
Arteta talks about proving we are on Liverpool’s level, and the fixture congestion.
Please enjoy, watch and subscribe to JustArsenalVids