The beautiful game keeps developing and Arsenal find themselves in a tough battle for returning to the Apex of the PL.
When the club decided to build The Arsene Wenger Stadium – well that’s what it should have been called by now – it was meant to make us compete with the much richer Mancs. Then the Oilers came and TV money diluted the importance of the box office income, and on top of it all Arsene gradually lost his way tactically and in terms of finding world class gems. As a result Arsenal lost its duopoly with the Mancs, and so did they; and both clubs are desperately seeking their way back to dominance.
Big, carefree oil money has played a huge part in this but it’s not the only factor. The London and Manchester Oilers also out-strategised us (and the Red Mancs) and so did Pool.
Mourinho’s football was awful to watch but it established the Chavs at the top of the PL, and they then built further on their initial success, obviously helped by the spineless Oil baron’s easy money.
Citeh have built up something solid and possibly lasting and made one of the two biggest moves of the last decade: luring Guardiola to the rainy city and making him settle there. That’s really no mean feat. As much as I dislike the MC ownership, I have to admit that they have made some great strategic moves. Yes they spent a lot of money too but unlike many other established top clubs in Europe they did not go for big, expensive and established players who subsequently flopped (Bale, Coutinho, Hazard, etc). Well Grealish may turn out to be an exception to this.
Pool were also strategically much more shrewd than Arsenal, both by attracting Klopp – the second biggest move in the PL in the last decade and who would improve on Rodgers’ fine base – AND by finding the sort of Gems Arsene and Dein used to surprise everyone with a decade earlier.
It became gradually clear that Arsenal’s strategy of seldom selling our top players, building on our youth academy and buying one or two expensive, established players (Ozil, Ssnchez, Partey, Auba, Laca, Pepe) was just not working. Klopp, Guardiola and Abramovich were continuously out-smarting Arsenal (and the rest). The club had to go a different route. And they did.
Nobody should underestimate the boldness and risk-taking of the BoD’s new strategic course. They put their trust in untested Arteta and spent a hell of a lot of money on young players with huge potential, but nothing more than that.
It is a big work in progress and can only over time be judged. Yet, we can already see the progress and were this vision could lead us. No doubt, a few more players will leave and join us this summer, and next season should be a level better once more.
It remains to be seen whether we can challenge Citeh and Pool with this strategy, but we are certainly ahead of the Red Mancs and the knuckle-draggers of North-London who are both in free-fall and in perpetual search for the right fit manager.
There is more to come and Arteta has it all to do, but we are heading in the right direction again and doesn’t it feel good?! 🤩