Can Arsenal Really Compete?

The simple truth is that being a football fan is more about emotion than it is about logic. We want what we want and for most it matters not that what we want is a fantasy. We have a romantic notion of how our club should perform. We all think our club should be “taken to the next level”. This is not an Arsenal thing, you hear fans from most clubs saying the same thing. And when they don’t get this “next level” they blame others for failing to achieve their dreams for them.

It’s the players to blame, or the board, or the hapless manager. It’s never their lack of acceptance of reality or their unrealistic expectations. Oh no, and, as many fans feel the same and think the same, they have a consensus.

People seem prepared to ignore any reality that means that their happiness is unlikely to be realised for them by their club.

Let’s look at some of the things Arsenal fans are happy to dismiss in order for them to justify their demands, and let us consider whether these demands are reasonable or not.

We use history (we are the 3rd most successful team in history) yet ignore the recent history of how the game has changed. History is no more what happened in the thirties than it is what happened yesterday. It’s all history. But there are turning points and we are affected by recent turning points more than we are of ancient ones. And let’s be honest here, if it happened pre-war then in football terms, that’s ancient history, almost prehistoric.

In 1992 the advent of the Premier League changed the landscape. If you don’t believe me, ask any Liverpool fan. Their history had them as default league winners, they haven’t won it even once since and are hurtling farther away with each year and new signing. But they still benefit from that history in that they have a huge domestic and overseas fan base that brings in money through commercial deals. However, as each year passes this fan base will likely grow at a slower rate than their rivals and their historical advantage will diminish, much like that of Villa or Forest. So we can see that the further back in history we look, the less relevant it becomes. That’s why George Graham is more relevant than Herbert Chapman.

In 2003 Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea. Another turning point. A total game changer for teams like Arsenal and Liverpool who were hoping to challenge for honours. Rather than me trying to explain it, here is an article written and researched by a Liverpool fan:


Read it and weep.

In 2008  Sheikh Mansour bought Manchester City and brought with him the £500 billion sovereign spending power of Abu Dhabi.

Now in simple terms if you accept Manchester United were top dog and in a class of their own on spending power, then these other two bought into the top table. So all the history that Arsenal and Liverpool had was bulldozed out the way by huge wads of cash writing its own history.

The next bit of history that we have to consider is Arsenal’s move to the new stadium, with all the restrictions on team building and maintenance that brought. This subject has been done to death and if someone does not accept that in this period we were miles behind then I am not about to address their stupidity today.

Then recent history works in our favour for a change. Financial Fair Play had some effect and the long term commercial deals we were tied to ran out and we were able to make big strides. The short term loans on the stadium were repaid and we found ourselves more able to compete for top players.

Please note how I said “more able” because no matter that we are better off, if the others are still richer we are still at a disadvantage. All be it less so.

People who say we now have enough money to compete, ignore the fact that, actually, we don’t.

For example, let’s say Real Madrid buy Aguero and that frees up Benzema. First off all there will be an absolute bun fight for his signature and some of those fighting for it will be able to offer more in fees and wages than Arsenal. Now remember that he was sold because he is not Aguero, not Messi or Ronaldo, not Suárez or Neymar, but the level below that. So even if Arsenal got him we have not caught up, not by a long way. And yet people insist we should be competing with the teams that have the real top drawer players. I simply ask “why is that then?”

This is the argument I like best: “We should be better with scouting, fitness and tactics”. 

These people seem to have forgotten that all these avenues for improvement are open to every club, and more open to clubs with more money.

So again I ask: “Why should Arsenal be the club that excels above others in these fields?”

Well I will tell you why. It is because we are unreasonable and illogical.

Recent history has made it very hard to catch, let alone pass three clubs in England. In Europe it’s just the same. Almost every year the richest clubs win the ECL.

It’s not a coincidence you know?

So ask yourselves: Are Arsenal failing to achieve, or are they just failing to achieve your unrealistic expectations?

If your argument is “we should be doing better” I will counter that with the suggestion that perhaps we are where we should be, given the history.

Now, having said all that, I expect us to compete with the very best next year, both domestically and in Europe.

The thing is though, I won’t be squealing and stamping my feet if we don’t and blaming others for not achieving my own personal expectations.

Pedantic George ( aka @Blackburngeorge )

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181 comments on “Can Arsenal Really Compete?

  1. Lee Robinson, Cardiff’s former academy manager, should know a thing or two about Aaron Ramsay?

    Cardiff played Arsenal in the FA Cup Youth quarter-final at the Emirates in 2007. Cardiff lost 2 – 3, with Jay Simpson scoring a hat-trick!, For Arsenal of course, and where is Jay Simpson now?

    Steve Bould told Lee Robinson, that Ramsay was the best player on the field.

    It seems that Manchester United could have had Aaron on their books, at the age of 16, for £40,000.

    From the horse’s mouth, we learn that SAF, went on holiday, and left Mike Phelan to do the negotiations!. Everton, were also in the mix.

    Mr Wenger laid on a private jet for the trip to Switzerland, as history has recorded.

    Ramsay, is 1 in a 1000, that had the ability, the acumen, the agility, and finally most of all, had the attitude to succeed. That is why, only 1 in 20 will make the grade from the Academy to the Arsenal squad.

    Aaron Ramsay, has the attitude to fulfil the defending midfielder – a “registra”.

    As for the striker, that is another story..


  2. The boys are in action today. I can’t tell you boys and girls how much I’ve been waiting for today. As an appetizer, here’s to your viewing pleasure.



  3. Oops! I must state that you need an account on dotcom to watch the video.


  4. Where us Jay Simpson NoTH ?

    He is at Orient, joined them last year and still scoring goals. Unfortunately the Os wee relegated on the last day of the season so he will be plying his trade in League Two next year. Good club though Orient.


  5. Team in full: Martinez, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal, Flamini, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Iwobi, Akpom.
    Subs: Szczesny, Bellerin, Toral, Zelalem, Crowley, Willock, Cech, Gibbs, Chambers, Koscielny, Ozil, Walcott, Arteta, Cazorla, Giroud, Ramsey.

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20150715/team-news-wilshere-starts-in-singapore#lt17CvbtKuKAh6tQ.99


  6. AKPOM!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. a quick breakaway with iwobi crossing to jack the hat, ball broke to Akpom from a tackle and he powered his shot in off the keeper


  8. First of the season Fins, first of many

    Liked by 1 person

  9. HT: 1-0 to the Arsenal

    so far its a slow paced, boring pre-season game.


  10. At least the punters have had a goal!
    Everton vs. Stoke could’ve turned most of them off the footy. Lucky for them that they only came to see The Arsenal.


  11. Szczesny replaced Martinez for the second half


  12. 60 minutes gone, Wilshere makes it 2-0 with a penalty, not sure if Debuchy was tripped or if he actually tripped up himself. Cool finish by jack


  13. Willock, Crowley and Zelalem coming on, Wilshere, Ox and Flamini off


  14. Bellerin and Toral on for Debuchy and Iwobi, about 20 minutes left


  15. the keeper tripped Toral, and Akpom makes it 3-0 from the spot. Again a cool finish


  16. Akpom heads in his third from a good cross by Bellerin, 4-0


  17. FT: 4-0

    easy win


  18. CHUBA!

    He’s quick!
    And other stuff too.
    Not an accident that he got minutes last year.

    Giroud, Welbeck, Walcott, Alexis & AKPOM for the first half of the season? Chuba possibly playing in the LC etc. A cheeky loan later on if the seniors remain fit.

    Sanogo playing under Bergkamp!


  19. it seems akpom scoring 3 today has led to a few of the AAA having a mini meltdown, its all “no new striker now”, “Wenger out”, even “I hope Wenger dies”

    Really is a good old laugh when the act like that.

    I’m waiting for Akpom to be this years “Bellerin don’t count” we need, we need, I want, I want, I want


  20. So its Everton in the final on Saturday, we could see a team like this


    Bellerin Chambers Koscielny Gibbs

    Arteta Ramsey

    Walcott Ozil Cazorla



  21. Iwobe’s hat trick has upset some of our fan base. Surely not yet another home grown budget player who might be good enough for the 1st team squad?


  22. Oops me bad,
    Chuba Akpom deserves the credits.

    A career at PGMOL awaits me.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I feel your pain DC – watched the Arseplayer highlights rather than the game but we looked lovely and fluid, picked the home side apart with speed and superior football thinking

    Jack was well at it from the start, great start to an important season from Chuba, the Ox was also roaring.

    Not sure about the Debuchy penalty – very soft


  24. there are some very strange “suppoerters” out there, if ARSENAL beat the blind school in a pre season friendly I would be happy. I just dont understand these perverts who delight in doom and are miserable with even mild success. There will be much cliff jumping if we win the league.


  25. AorB

    Let it not resound within the walls of the hall of Tara!

    Eddy did write the following on 16 January 2013,

    – Padre I agree he is underachieving and how anyone can think he is overachieving is beyond me. The only thing I credit this article with is that they bring up the wage spend as part of the spend on the squad and not put forward the falsehood that other like to do that transfer spend is a stand alone issue-

    Padre, is the Spanish farmer, Boris Mellor!


  26. Saw the match yesterday and I think JW is going to be a massive player for Arsenal. He’s got some footballing attributes that only a few players have. It still bothers me that some of our so called fans still want him sold.


  27. The hysterical minority have said far worse. I wouldn’t let it bother you.

    More amusing have been the “Özil in Vengarrghhh showdown over position”, followed by “Wilshere in Vengrrrrr showdown over position” talks headlines. You get the impression, and I don’t what it is that gives it away can’t quite put my finger on it, heh, but they (as in the hack dwarves and the UK equivalent of Marca I.e.: Newscorp) don’t appear to like the Arsenal.

    Oh, It’s going to be a fun season. I’m looking forward to it.
    Cricket’s on!


  28. If Newscorp wasn’t the equivalent of Marca for certain clubs they’d be able to fill their pages with much simpler click bait.


    The hack dwarves would be relieved. Much less work (fabrication) required. Alas, they don’t make any decisions, or appear to be able to think for themselves.


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