Tottenham are a silly bunch, aren’t they? Going on Twitter to take the piss about Arsenal not filling the Emirates, whilst they are up against Real Madrid at Wembley…completely forgetting that the only reason their fanbase summons the strength to go all the way to Wembley on a Tuesday night is to see the stars of Real Madrid, not Alderweireld doing wonky passes for 90 minutes.
However, there are a few things we need to address. Tottenham ended second in the league last year on 86 points. The last time Arsenal got 80+ points was 2007-08, and the last time we reached 86+ points was 2003-04. Spurs are currently third in the league and seem to continue pushing for the top three.
“What does this have to do with Arsenal, you silly clown?”
Well, ask yourself this: how can a silly little irrelevant mid-table club like Tottenham suddenly go from eternal mediocrity to pushing for a title in the span of a few years?
The argument as to why Arsenal haven’t pushed for a title ranges from not having the same money as [insert name of any of the petro-dollar clubs], to lacking a high enough squad quality…but Tottenham should be a victim of the same issues, no?
Tottenham doesn’t have more money than Arsenal, and definitely doesn’t have more money than Chelsea, Man City or Man Utd. And yet they are keeping pace with those teams. Their system seems to be firing on all cylinders, with Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Danny Rose, Gareth Bale, Kyle Walker and Eric Dier all results of either the youth academy or a brilliant acquisition strategy, and all competing on the highest level in the toughest league on the planet.
Not all of them are world class of course, but name one single Arsenal own product you think is on the same level as either of those players?
It seems Tottenham identified early on that if they can’t compete financially, they need to compete elsewhere. If they can’t go head-to-head with richer clubs on players they want, maybe they need to create the players they want instead. And they’ve evidently done so successfully. I guess the main question here is: why haven’t Arsenal managed to do the same thing?
For me, the progress of Tottenham only serves to highlight the failure of Arsenal. If our stadium build really hamstrung our ability to compete, the club should have identified the need to compete in other areas. Look at Monaco, for example. Even with billionaire investors they realised they can’t compete with PSG financially, so they needed to take a different path and focus on bringing youth through the system.
Instead we’re stuck with the infamous stubbornness of Wenger, who probably still thinks Arsenal’s “values” outweigh this evil thing called “ambition” everyone is talking about…and who probably still thinks all other clubs should adjust to our moral compass, instead of us adapting to the modern era.
Either way, the fact that Pochettino can take over a no-name club illicitly located in North London and turn them into actual title challengers is a direct reflection on Arsene Wenger’s inability to modernise his approach. We simply can’t keep up.
Leicester winning the league is another perfect example of Wenger’s failures.
Ranieri identified that Leicester can’t compete in ANY area with the bigger clubs, so what did he do? Deployed the most basic 4-4-2 def-counter system the world has ever seen to outsmart the league and win through simplification (and a bit of luck of course).
What’s lacking at Arsenal? Boldness. The willingness to accept we can’t compete with the big boys anymore so we need to take a bold, different path. Adapting to the world instead of waiting for the world to finally become like us. If the big teams don’t care about FFP, why do we? Sitting on some high horse of self-sustainability is never going to win us the league.
If we can’t buy Messi, we should create him. If we can’t match Man City’s squad depth we should outmanoeuvre them tactically. If we can’t move to a new stadium without causing 15 years of frustration…maybe don’t move stadium?
Either way, none of this will happen with Wenger at the helm. We need someone with a fresh approach to come into the club and usher in a new era of forward-thinking.
- This article was amended and updated on 4th Oct