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  1. The real top six? In every full decade since I became an Arsenal supporter Arsenal have won the league except 2010 to 2019. I came onboard in 1969 and in 1971 we won the famous double. In 1989 we won at Anfield on the last day. In the 90’s we had 1991 and 1998 and in the new millennium we had 2002 and 2004. Since then nothing. But I am very hopeful for this decade to correct this blight. Surely this is the best set of players since Arsene Wenger’s heyday? Martin Odegaard: Our Captain Supreme However, If we don’t start winning trophies again we could go out of the top three English teams as Man City and Chelsea are coming up behind us. In this table of most successful English teams here 15 most successful English clubs in football history by major trophies won (givemesport.com). They exclude certain trophies because of their limited reach such as the Charity Shield and World Championships. Arsenal are 3rd with 30 trophies. Man City, if as expected, win the league and the FA cup will have 28. Chelsea are on 25. Surprisingly, Aston Villa are next on 20, but they will surely not catch us in my lifetime even if Unai Emery performs miracles. But, if we don’t start winning trophies soon, City will surely overhaul us, possibly by next year. Ian Wright right again Of course, City are facing charges going back to 2009 so they could lose all their modern trophies which means they go out of the top six and the Spuds come in. Arsenal drop down the top six? I will diverge for a moment to talk about the top two, Liverpool on 46 and Man Utd on 43. I cannot see them being caught possibly ever, although that top two could change positions quite easily. But we are the vulnerable ones. If Chelsea can get back to the Abramovich glory days they could also catch us in a few years. 18 of their major trophies have been won since 2000, an astonishing haul. We could go down to 5th place if we don’t start winning. Are there really more trophies in this team? And that is the real top six: Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Aston Villa. They include the final top four of this season 2023/24. Chelsea scrambled into 6th so 5 of the real top six are in the top six. City and Chelsea are the cuckoos, though. Incredible wealth and clever football policies have brought them a majority of the 21st century trophies. City, I should point out, have won 18 trophies over this time and possibly this month that will go up to 19. At least we can’t fall further What does it all mean for Arsenal and its support base if we go down to 5th? I should point out that 5th is our bottom position for a long time as Spurs are 7th on 17 trophies and Everton 8th on 15. They and Villa are not coming near us anytime soon. So we will remain 5th, if that happens and not lower. Still, it will have an impact on our standing in world football. And on our support. Can Emery hold Villa together? Chelsea and City fans are mostly new, young people attracted by the success and claiming bragging rights over the still current top three of Liverpool, Man Utd and Arsenal. Existing fans rarely change so the demographic changes over time if you don’t win. The current top three have probably lost some new support to the upstarts and if Liverpool go backwards after Klopp that will get worse. Who will make the top four next season? It is becoming hard to see where the contenders are going to come from next season. City and Arsenal look solid but the rest? Villa have imploded at the end but I guess Unai Emery will have them ready. There is no better expert at juggling European football so I would expect them to handle the Champions League well. But can they be contenders or even retain their Champions League spot? Man Utd look a shambles at the moment and they must move quickly to get back to the top to retain their position. To me, looking at their squad, they need too many new players to quickly turn things around. A new Slot machine or Poch marked Pensioners? With Liverpool it is almost impossible to say. It is rare for a new manager to take over from an iconic one and do well but Liverpool have form in this regard. Bill Shankly resigned and Bob Paisley took over to make Liverpool possibly the greatest English team of all time. But Arne Slot? Can he take the jump up in class and the huge pressure that comes with managing European royalty? We shall see but I would not be optimistic. I have a feeling that big personalities, which even Klopp struggled to keep in line, will prove too much for Slot. He will need a clearout like Arteta did but will he be given the chance? I doubt it. Somehow I see a short run for him. Howe can Eddie do it? Chelsea may improve but I am not convinced that Pochettino has really got the mojo he had at Spurs. They had a pretty good end to the season and without Champions League may be able to capitalise on the teams that have. Such a big squad means that handling the lesser European trophies is easier for him. Newcastle sell up and Spurs have Ange’st? Newcastle have also run into financial problems and may have to sell some players. Eddie Howe is good but his team have been very inconsistent. They need to improve a lot to contend and if Isak and Guimaraes goes it is hard to see how (forgive the pun). Spurs fans think Postecoglou is the crazy one Tottenham walked themselves into a lot of bother at the end. The supporters threw away a chance of Champions League just to do over the Arsenal causing Ange Postecoglou to have a meltdown. I cannot say this any stronger, every team is trying to get any little margin in their favour, from dark arts, improved training and diet, set piece setups, statistical analysis, mindgames, but crucially, getting the fans behind them to give that little extra push when they need a hard fought win. Is it possible that Son, normally so clinical in one on ones, as I understand it the best in the Premiership, was subconsciously thrown off by the vibe from the crowd to lose? It was certainly not consciously as Son is an excellent professional. There is now a rift and if such a superb manager as Postecoglou goes, whither Spurs? I think he will have offers. Can they get rid of Daniel Levy and get a chairman who wants to win? Doesn’t seem likely. And the winner is? Last year I tipped Villa to make the top four along with Arsenal, City and Man Utd. Utd fell apart but I didn’t do badly. Arsenal could have struggled with Champions League as Newcastle and Man Utd did. And so next season? It is hard to see beyond City and Arsenal again. I cannot see a team beyond the eight I have mentioned making top four and I feel that the next six will battle it out for the bottom two spots. I have absolutely no confidence in any choice but I am going to plump for Chelsea and Villa. We always are So, Arsenal, finally, then City, Chelsea and Villa. Regular readers know that my predictions have been good so far, getting many things right or at least close to right. However, this next season is very hard to call. So many teams have problems that anything can happen. But maybe we can capitalise on that. Good old Arsenal, we’re proud to say that name.
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