A Season of Hope for Arsenal, the League and Rest of Europe?

It has been a bizarre PL season until now, with Pool, MU and the Chavs all well outside the top-four and Leicester STILL leading the league. The football on display is so much better than it used to be, especially from the sort of clubs you normally would not immediately associate with good football: Leicester, Watford, Bournemouth, Everton, West Ham etc.

The best thing of the Premier League is that every team can beat every team on the day and there are many examples of this throughout the 2015-2016 season. There is good money available for all clubs now, and if the Board of Directors of these clubs are half decent then they know how to use it well AND attract the right manager for their club. Ranieri at Leicester is a masterstroke, and so is the poetically named Quique Sanchez Flores at Watford. Martinez at Everton is a very good match as well, even though he is, like Moyes, also struggling to  move the club to the next level of success. The football on display is very good, though, and with a bit of patience I can see them go places over the next few seasons.

And there are more examples of clubs getting it right, such as Bournemouth, and dare I say it, our North London neighbours. I am also really impressed with West Ham’s change of direction, kicking out ‘route one’ Sammy Allerdici for the brilliant Slaven Bilic, who, in his first season, ‘scalped’ all the big managers in our league at least once!

To me it is very encouraging that the megal-spenders of Chelsea, Man City and Manchester United are currently struggling to dominate the league and that, with a dozen games to go, Leicester, Spuds and Arsenal are above them. This might just be a seasonal blip as we would expect those with the biggest spending power to surface to the top again. Fairness in football, based on the principle that not all can be equal but that with competitive resources, the right strategy and leadership many clubs have a good chance to win the league or FA cup, is important to me.

The spending power and national attractiveness of say Bayern and Real Madrid and Barcelona have let to unfair and predictable leagues where it is likely that 9 out of 10 times one of those teams will win their respective leagues.

Bayern are mega-rich, and, as Owen Hargreaves it once vividly described, are regarded as the prettiest girl in the school, and when she comes calling players go weak in the knees and happily leave their club and team mates in the lurch to be with the hottest one of all. Attracting the best of your main competitors has a double wammy, brutal effect of course, as you weaken them and strengthen yourself at the same time: minus two and plus two makes plus four in these scenarios.

Real Madrid and Barcelona have held the rest in Spain to ransom for a long time with getting the vast majority of the all important TV money and then adding this to their superior ticket sales and sponsorship incomes. These clubs are also very attractive to both Spanish and European/South-American players because of their status and legacy, which makes it even harder for the rest to compete with them. I find it vulgar to see Barca attack us with Messi, Suarez and Neymar – an attack of the street value of say £250m. I could not help but think that if we had had one of these three players starting for Arsenal midweek, we would have given them a far better game.

The Italian clubs used to compete for the best talents but Italian club football is now probably at its weakest point ever, losing out to clubs from Spain, England and Germany almost every time.

I am glad that the PL has been so competitive this season and let’s hope this will continue. Even if Leicester do not win the league in May, they will have given all of the less dominant and rich clubs hope that with the right strategy, team leadership and clever investments in players success can be achieved. This hope/belief is vital to the success and attractiveness of the sport both short and long term.

The prerequisite for competitive/surprising PL seasons to continue beyond this one, is a relatively fair contribution of the TV moneys made, which in turn will lead to a very competitive league that will continue to attract mega audiences in the UK and across the world. The rest of Europe better take note.

By TotalArsenal.


6 thoughts on “A Season of Hope for Arsenal, the League and Rest of Europe?

  • TA… Good post–and timely too as it gives a little perspective about the English situation vs the biggest clubs in the rest of Europe after our match on Tuesday.

    As most folks know, I’ve only been following this club football thing for a decade but I did throw in whole hog… At that time, with Arsenal just moved to the new stadium and fresh off playing in the CL final, our manager was talking big about what he thought the future might hold. Of course, that was during the real estate bubble and just before it popped with the attendant (and massive) wealth destruction that took place.

    Such things are never all that bad for the folks at the top. Sure, if you’re a billionaire your number might go from 10 billion down to 6 or 7 but you’ve still got 6 or 7…Better than losing your job or your house or both… It could also make it a good time to buy a football club. Those fans are loyal, after all, and might need a distraction from the economic troubles in their lives…

    Anyhow, back in 2006, David Dein was meeting with reps from other big European clubs as leader of the G14 and the prospects for a European Super League seemed strong. AW talked about it regularly and wanted to be sure that there would be an element of earned entry (promotion and relegation) but, I believe, Arsenal executives understood the essential thing: for sport to grow, it must appear to have elements of fairness. If fans believe the game is rigged, everybody (even the winners who rig things) lose…

    After the great recession, such talk died, but at least there was some progress re: financial fair play. That’s gone now, as well…

    England, despite the more general talk about leaving the Euro zone, is on the right track with the football and the TV revenue sharing. There are still (major) issues with the referees (which affect “foreign” Arsenal more than any other club, IMO…) and the more they push the use of technology, the better. Goal line video is an unqualified success and it would not be hard to eliminate the need for linespeople. Refs need more tools and something needs to be done about cards and esp. the professional red card, IMO. Loan rules also need reform and AW allowing his loanees to play against us should become the norm, though that’s just a start…

    Relative to the rest of European Club football–not to mention the absurdity of FIFA (who got a new Swiss prez yesterday…) and the way clubs have to support it–England is way ahead. Too much competition in our league means further changes will have to occur for teams to truly compete for our title and the CL, but they could happen… (ManCity are still in with a shout for a triple, after all…) It all seems a bit laisse-faire at the moment, but at least the sharing of the TV contract is a (very big–5 billion pounds, in fact…) step in the right direction…

    Players want a) high wages and b) playing time…Their agents like big money transfers (and the high pressures that come with them…) more than they do… If only supporters could clue in… We prize the traditional elements of the game–and the good parts should be preserved, if possible–but the game cannot help growing in this new age of cameras and television and internet. How it does so is the key…

    Anyhow, it’s a very thought provoking piece, TA, and hopefully a few more chime in. I’m not sure the wide open league inspires hope for me personally, but if it does for others who am I to object?… OK, enough said from me, as JK tells me I have to get going on that match preview… 😀

  • Shame that nobody seems to want to comment here, TA… The preview is ready to go in the drafts (but, again, you may have to click preview to see all the graphics)… Maybe folks are just watching the Leicester match…

  • Thanks Seventeenho 🙂

    Yeah I did not have expect many comments and that is fine with me. Feel free to issue the new post as soon as you see fit. I am also happy to do it later on if that is what you prefer.

  • Let’s give this one a bit longer…with the added bonus of keeping Mr. JK (born in 1984) waiting… 😀

    Shame that Norwich went all stupid (naive?…) up there at LC… Too many guys pushing for the full points and individual glory when a bit of keep ball and passing might’ve improved their chances (for a goal) AND at least kept the single point in hand (and given us a chance to go level with LC)… On the bright side, I guess that’s only half the points that Wasilewski gifted us with the late foul at our place in another example of extreme stupidity (naivete)… What is it with English football and stupidity? Wink, wink…

    Gotta play good (and smart) tomorrow, I say…

  • Am watching Arseanal v Chelsea in Madrid at the moment. Two clashing styles but tactically very interesting.

    Shame Norwich did not hold out but it will make us focus more for tomorrow’s game, hopefully 😜

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