The Barclays Premier League (BPL) has always been a league of conventionality. A league that has always been dominated by the traditional ‘Top 4′ with the decent mid-table teams knowing their place and bottom relegation teams left to scrap for survival against relegation.
But this season is different. Believe it or not, Tottenham is actually playing Champions league football and teams such as Sunderland are eyeing Europa League placement and the BPL has been so tight with teams you wouldn’t expect to see in positions at the table. No longer are managers of ‘smaller’ teams setting lower standards for themselves but are willing to compete with the best, given Sunderland’s 3-o spanking of big boys Chelsea. Arsene Wenger believes the competition has been open as ever.
“I don’t agree with people who say that the overall quality of the league is lower this season,” Wenger told the Official Matchday Programme. “In fact you can say exactly the reverse.
“Two quality teams – Aston Villa and Liverpool – met and both sides were in the bottom half. So that opinion is not really proven by concrete facts.”
Why have teams like Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea managed to set their reputation in stone and establish an amazing stronghold in the most popular soccer league in the world? It’s all down to complete consistency and quality of work ethic.
Manchester United have never finished lower than third in the table since the formation of Barclays Premier League (BPL) and overtook Liverpool to with record win of 18 cup trophies under the leadership of Sir Alex Ferguson, a manager who has achieved astonishing milestones with the club. He is a pure symbolism of victory and great achievements. To imagine his name without the club is as impossible to breathe without air. The same goes for Arsenal in North London a team who are the English epitome of quality football and style. A wonderful team I have had the total joy of being a fan ever since manager Arsene Wenger took over in 1997. Under his guidance Wenger has been the most succesful manager for Arsenal winning four FA cups, a league double in the 1997/98 season and the first team to go 49 games undeafeated to win the Premier League in 2003/2004. Liverpool have always been great contenders in BPL but despite the fact they have never won a domestic league title since its inception, They’re still a great championship team and have won many titles including the prestigious UEFA Champions League in 2005. Chelsea who have had legends such as George Weah and Gianfranco Zola, never won anything until the $300 million dollar takeover by Roman Abramovic. His buying of the club led to acquirement of bad boy Coach Jose Mourinho and epic signings such as Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Flourent Malouda. This devastating combination of star power became the new Real Madrid that won back to back Premiership titles in 2005 and 2006. Unfortunately, after a taste of what it means to Champions, this has also led to big-headedness of long-suffering Chelsea fans and a parasitic swarm of glory-hunters.
But apart from historic lesson aside, the main issue here is Arsenal, as always. Whenever you get into an argument about football and which team is the best with your friends, all they have to do is take jibes at Arsenal for having a young and inexperienced side and not winning anything since 2005.
“Arsene Wenger is a pedophile and is ridiculous if he expects to win anything with children,”
“You guys haven’t won anything since 2005,”
“When was the last time you guys won anything?”
“They play great football but that’s all they do,”
“If you believe these small boys can win anything, you’ll believe anything”
Even professionals such as Real Madrid Coach Jose Mourinho and Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra have stooped to similar and disrespectful comments in the media.
Jose Mourinho flatly called Wenger a “loser” after Wenger made comments about Mourinho’s cheating antics in a Champions league match.
“We could lose to them but then what? There is nothing (for them), there will be no trophy, nothing,” said Evra.
“Arsenal is a training centre,” Evra told French television station Canal Plus. “I watch them play and enjoy it but will they win the title? That’s what people remember,” Evra said.
But as much as I hate to admit it, these cheap shots are painfully true. Arsenal have not won anything since 2005 and we lack some certain experience especially at defence. There’ve been too many games that we didn’t kill off and we are a very young squad with an average age of 23.5.
That doesn’t mean there’s no talent. Players such as Song, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Samir Nasri are stepping up to the plate and are having a great season. Despite all the media’s criticism and smack talk, Arsenal currently sit first on the table with 32 points, one point ahead of Manchester United.
And This coming Monday on Dec. 13, 2010 is the opportunity Arsenal have to make the biggest statement that they can indeed compete for the Premier League title this season with the “big boys”
And to all the jibes and mockery my only response is in Arsene we trust.