What is good enough for Arsenal? by AndersS
Obviously we are often discussing how we are doing in the Premier League. For most fans, if not all, the Premier League title is the most important title we are competing for. Even when we were in the Champions League, the Premier League still seemed the most important yardstick to measure how we were really doing.
If we are in general agreement, the Premier League position is where the team, the manager and the whole club really show how good we are, then what position is good enough for us to be satisfied?
This may of course change from season to season. At the start of this season my guess is that a vast majority would be happy, if we could achieve top 4. But not top 4 as a major achievement in itself. Rather as an important progress and milestone in a process to achieve greater things in the coming years.
And this leads me to the real issue for this article. What is generally good enough for Arsenal given the history and stature we have as a club?
Now, I am sure, if we finish a season in Top 4, we will in general be satisfied, but happy?
Hypothetically, if we were offered 4th place and no chance/risk of any other position every year for the next 10 years, should we say yes? I would say ‘no’.
If we were offered 3rd every year? I would still say no, and also no to 2nd every year for the next 10 years.
I would like to see us challenging for the title, and hopefully win it at least once, and if it also means that we will have seasons where we finish say 8th or 10th, I would rather have it that way, than 2nd every year.
We are one of the biggest clubs not only in England, but in fact in The World. We have also seen plenty of documentation showing we have, over the past 10 years and more, been one of the highest spenders/investors in our squad. In transfers and in salaries to players and managers. I also understand our facilities for training etc. are top class. In my opinion, there is no excuse for not challenging for the title. But sadly, we are not, and we haven’t been for years.
At this stage, it might be useful to define, what exactly it is to challenge for the title? To me it is something more than the exact league position.
2015/16 was the last season, we finished in the Top 4. We finished 2nd, Leicester won. And although this is generally acknowledged to be a season where we had a golden opportunity to win the league, the fact is that with 5 rounds to go, we were 12 points behind Leicester and we were actually only in third at that time. Spurs were 5 points in front of us, and we were in all reality out of the title running. In the end, we overtook Spurs to finish second, because they lost the last 2 games, but we still finished 10 points behind Leicester. Not a real title challenge in my book.
But what exactly defines a title challenge? I don’t know of any clear definitions, so allow me to make an attempt. I would say, a title challenge must be to be placed with a realistic chance of winning, with a few rounds to play. Not just a mathematical possibility, but something that most people would say could happen if things went our way.
It is of course difficult to be exact, but something like maybe no worse than within 8 points of the lead with 5 rounds to play. 8 points would mean, if we win all games, we need a leading team to lose 1 game, win one game and draw 3 games, or lose 2 games draw one game and win 2 for us to catch up on points. Not unrealistic.
You may of course have different views on what is a title challenge, and the main issue for me is not what the definition is exactly. As long as it is a realistic chance of winning the league, with a few games to be played.
The point is, we should expect Arsenal to really challenge for the title on a regular basis. Not every year, but maybe at least once every 3-4 years? That to me would seem to be good enough.
What I also would like to see from the club, is an official statement of what our targets are, but that is a different matter.
What do you think Arsenal should achieve, not just this season, but in general? And if it includes being title challengers, what is a title challenge in your personal perception exactly?