2013/14 – the year it should have been Arsenal.
In the early part of the season it looked like it could have been us. But should Arsenal have won the League in 2014?
Here are some of the debating points, just in case you need reminding.
1. We should have had Suarez
Some wanted him, some (including me) thought the way the man behaved would be a problem.
In fact it turned out to be the way the directors of Liverpool behaved that was the problem. Arsenal bid £40,000,001. Liverpool lied and lied again saying that there was no buy-out clause. John Henry questioned what Arsenal was smoking.
But it was all another case of vapour transfers and phantom transfer news. The relationship with Liverpool has been damaged severely, every football club knows John Henry is an abject congenital liar, who boasts about what he has done, and the Liverpool friendly press chuckled.
Olivier Giroud meanwhile is close to scoring the same number of goals in his second season as Thierry Henry did in his year II and it turns out we didn’t need any more centre forwards. We needed Ramsey, Ozil or Theo – or at least two of them. We had none. The moment they came back, life changed.
2. It should have been Arsenal!
This was always going to be the year for an outsider to take the Premier League title. Sure, the Premier League betting odds at Betfair may have tapped City and Chelsea (along with Manchester United) as favourites but there were obvious problems with all squads that showed the title was there for the taking if a team was able to pull itself together and retain its key players.
Last years champions, Manchester United, were always going to struggle replacing Sir Alex Ferguson; a manager who lied to RVP to get him into the squad for what he knew would be his last season, and who lumbered Man U with RVP on a contract which, for much of the time would have him on the treatment table.
Chelsea and Manchester City both had replaced their managers and Tottenham had lost Gareth Bale which was careless.
Arsenal on the other hand, had the most experienced manager in the league, retained their star players, and were no longer shackled by the financial restrictions that had plagued the team since the building of the Emirates Stadium. This was the year that Arsenal were supposed to be in prime position to make an assault on the league.
Except for the referees. Other clubs sneer – at least until, like Chelsea, they found it hurting them too. A detailed analysis of ever Premier League club on Untold Arsenal showed once and for all that Arsenal suffer far more injuries as a result of contacts on the field of play than any other team. And the refs, as the analysis by other referees show, do nothing.
3. Arsenal were the most attractive team in the Premier League
Or put simply, at least under Arsene Wenger, we are not like Chelsea. Arsenal have consistently been considered as the team that plays the most attractive football in the Premier League.
From the power, pace and devastating counterattacking play of the Invincibles team, to the intricate, possession based play of the team from the Cesc Fabregas era, the one thing Arsenal fans could always hang their hat on, despite a lack of trophies, was the fact that we played the most attractive football in the league.
This year, once again with any two of Theo, Ozil and Ramsey on the pitch we were not only the best to look at, but superb scorers. Ozil found passes without looking up, Ramsey scored when we were all watching someone else.
4. They remind us of the Invincibles
Building on the above point, watching Liverpool reach the precipice of silverware using a style vaguely similar to Arsenal’s most successful ever team is especially annoying!
5. It doesn’t appear to be a flash in the pan
With a tactically mobile manager that has proved that he can adapt a game plan to suit the players he has, and an owner that has shown a willingness to spend money to address the issues in the squad, there is no reason that Liverpool’s success cannot be sustained.
Except… they are way out of line in terms of FFP regulations, and although Uefa are not banning clubs this year, they are looking to impose transfer restrictions.
Plus they have a man who not only lies (everyone in football lies) but who boasts of his lying. And they have a centre forward who is liable to take a mouthful out of someone’s arm.
Add to this that Liverpool still doesn’t have a decent stadium, years after it was promised, and is going to suffer all the financial hardship Arsenal had during the building of the Emirates and thereafter, this could well be a flash in the pan.
Article by GoonerDev, revised by Tony Attwood