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Found 2 results

  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.
  2. Are Spurs fans stupid? I remember around 7 years ago being in West Ham’s London Stadium for a boring 0-0 draw in December. I was in the home end so had to stay quiet. Lucky that nothing was happening on the pitch so I had no reason to make noise anyway. The London Stadium - suitable for running away? Arsenal were the better side in that we made more half chances and dominated possession but West Ham were, every so often, breaking through and could have scored but they played very defensively so the chances came to nothing. But what struck me was that they just retreated into their defensive shell totally for most of the second half as a draw seemed likely. The fans were screaming at the players to pass backwards, not forwards. I was astonished because Arsenal were not playing well, West Ham could maybe have won by pushing forward but instead the fans badly wanted that point. Lay down and die West Ham were struggling near the relegation spots at the time but Arsenal finished 7th that season. It was only mid-December and nowhere near the last few games where playing for a draw might maybe make sense. Not such a tough team that you should lay down and die against. I have never heard Arsenal fans want their team not to win a match no matter who the opposition is and it reverberated starkly with me. But that seems to be the reality with teams that don’t win things. They are often happy with a draw. Do they really want to get rid of this guy? Now, this is a long lead into Spurs fans seemingly singing Blue Moon on the way back from Burnley and, more surprisingly, to me, turning on Ange Postecoglou for wanting his team to win no matter what. Objectively, beating Man City is good for Spurs long-term and in the short term, could easily get them the Champions League this season. Villa are playing Crystal Palace away who are winning everything at the moment, which, coinciding with Villa’s dip in form, could easily mean a loss. Spurs are playing rock bottom and relegated Sheffield United. Put as plainly as I can, beating Man City gives them Champions League most likely. Your target needs to be the best Put me in their position and I would choose Champions League all day long. To be fair, I have never really bought into the big Spurs rivalry. For most of the time I have been an Arsenal supporter, Spurs were second best and it is only in the latter half of Arsene Wenger’s time that they got on top. But still Wenger won trophies and they more or less didn’t. And they have never been our target because they have never been the best team in the land for my whole time as an Arsenal fan. Spurs fans ambitions may not match their stadium Ange Postecoglou wants Spurs to be the best team in the country. It is the only thing he sees as a manager. He has always aimed at the best and often succeeded as well. There is no other logic in sport. You look at the best and say, if I can paraphrase Liam Neeson, “I have a particular set of skills, I will find you and I will kill you”. Arteta feels the same. He knows who the target is, it is the same as Postecoglou’s – Man City. Arsenal knock the big boys off their perch Arsenal have had Leeds, Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea and now City as the acclaimed targets to overcome in my time. Tottenham have had the exact same teams. We have managed to give Leeds, Liverpool and Man Utd bloody noses but Chelsea and City have so far eluded us. If City win this year they will be our targets next season. It is as simple as that. And they will be Postecoglou’s as well, if he is still there. Daniel Levy - his mediocrity is the reason Spurs cannot really challenge? And that brings me to trying to answer the question posed in the headline – Are Spurs fans stupid? They have a manager who has succeeded wherever he has gone. He has them playing attractive football despite their top player leaving. He knows that the only currency a top manager can trade in is wins. He could still get them to Champions League despite the late wobble in form. He was aiming to win the league this year, I am convinced of that, not finishing in the CL spots. I am pretty certain he knows no other way. A team to match his ambition? I am also aware that earlier this season I posted a blog here which estimated that all 20 managers could be gone by around August this year. Postecoglou was rated Likelihood of being fired at 0% the likelihood of leaving 10%. I would put the second figure higher at the moment as many big teams with Postecoglou’s ambitions are looking for a manager. Could Ange slot into Arne Slot's spot? He is a Liverpool fan, what’s the chances of a surprise move if Arne Slot doesn’t work out? He will have offers, make no mistake. His courage in saying that it is not real Spurs fans wanting them to lose may be wrong. Maybe they really would put Arsenal losing over the Champions League. Could they be a majority? If they are they have been deluded by their years of not winning trophies. Beaten down so much that getting in front of a midtable team which Arsenal had degenerated into was considered a triumph? Like West Ham at the start of this blog, their ambitions have been stunted. A collision course with fans? Which means they are not stupid but rather shrivelled into accepting a non-sporting position, that your target is not to be the best, but rather hope that your objective is mediocre enough that you can finish in front of them. If Arsenal are the joint targets next season by being champions (City would still be the benchmark) then that will be Postecoglou’s aim, beat them. But if Spurs fans really want to throw away a Champions League spot then he is on a collision course with them which could coincide with him accepting an offer from a bigger club. And that, to me, is stupid. They have finally got a winning manager who plays attractive football after sterile displays from Mourinho and Conte. And they will toss him aside? How about these two being the new Wenger/Ferguson? Honestly, I hope that scenario is wrong. I would prefer to knock Spurs off their perch just as we did Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester United. How would people feel about a true Arsenal/ Spurs rivalry to match the Arsenal/Manchester United one? With Arteta/ Postecoglou as Wenger/ Ferguson? Rather than the egregious rivalry between Man City and Arsenal which is lopsided, and always has this edge of City’s financial misdemeanours bringing them down, and not genuine football endeavour? Spurs 1st Arsenal 2nd? Yikes! I would not object to that competition, of Spurs being our strongest rivals, of that extra edge pushing us harder every time? Then beating them would be meaningful, parading the bus around North London knowing that it was the Spuds who were second would be sweeter, surely? And vice versa for them. That is the level Spurs need for a true rivalry. It has not happened ever, and if they don’t change their mindset, it never will. Harry Redknapp - give him a call, Mr Levy And so my conclusion is that they are not stupid, just that they have accepted that the top table is not theirs to occupy, they cannot win the league so hoping they can finish above Arsenal is the height of their ambition. They now have a manager who could alter that mindset but I have a feeling he will not be around long enough to change it. But hey, Mr Levy, Harry Redknapp is still around.
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