I Just Want Arsenal To Compete

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Dec 8th, 2014

‘I just want Arsenal to compete’ is fast becoming one of my most hated Arsenal related cliches. Dithering is still the one I hate more than any other as it implies the expresser knows more about the ins and outs of our transfer dealings than the rest of us mere mortals. We’re happy with fourth is another. It’s shows breathtaking pigheadedness to believe money is what makes fourth the extent of the board’s ambitions when they’d make more money from winning things and the improved commercial deals they could negotiate as reigning champions.

These three things have formed an unholy triumvirate of turd that make my blood boil when I hear them. Remonstrations of ‘I just want Arsenal to compete’ — which in my head is often read as the originator having a voice of Tumblr-worthy teenage angst — frustrate me to no end. Mostly because those who ejaculate this bromide cliche often cannot, or refuse to, qualify what exactly they consider a title challenge to be.

A title challenge is subjective of course, or at least it is when you do not win however surely people aren’t so foolish as to consider a title challenge exactly that only if it is successful?

What would people consider a title challenge from Arsenal? Finishing second? Finishing within 6 points of the winners? Able to win it on the last day? Still able to win it in April? There are so many things to consider. You could be 12 points behind in April and still win it. If you do then it’s an amazing turnaround but if you don’t then you are considered to never have challenged at all.

Borussia Dortmund finished second in their league by a full 19 points. Is that challenging? According to many Arsenal were seriously challenged by Everton to fourth and were lucky to pip them to it – the difference was 7 points. What was the difference between Arsenal and title winning City? 7 points.

For me, last season was a title challenge. Some will call me deluded for that but I say it was a genuine title challenge because we were two results away from winning the league. If we had beaten City in December and Liverpool in February we would have finished 2 points ahead of City in first place. How is that not challenging? The points difference was 7 but the game swing was just two. In 2008 we were a one game swing away from winning the title – had we beaten United in April we would have finished on 86 with Chelsea 2nd on 85.

Of course those are just two seasons in the past 10 years but we have also seen 4 cup final appearances and 1 cup win. That’s 6 challenges in 10 years, call it 5 as two were in the same year. Half of the time we have “challenged” and the other half we haven’t. That is not good enough many will say and I agree. I want Arsenal to compete every year but to assert that they haven’t is just wrong or your definition of competing and challenging is unrealistic and you will never be happy.

People talk about using the FA Cup as a springboard to compete for the title yet completely dismiss us as challengers last season when we were two games away from winning the title.

This season we haven’t kicked on as we would have liked and injuries have played their part as much as tactics and mentality however it’s still really early. We aren’t out of anything yet. I don’t say that because I’m deluded and think we will win the title because I don’t think we will but I do think we can still mount a challenge. We can still put ourselves in a position to make a go of it. There are 23 games left for Pete’s sake! If we had beaten Chelsea the gap would only be 7 points and remember when Spurs were 13 points ahead of us at one stage?

Chelsea have shown they are not invincible and how they react in their next match will be interesting because losing an unbeaten record is hard to deal with as we know better than most. Costa has gone off the boil a bit so it still remains to be seen whether he is a goal flash like Cisse or a consistent scorer like Drogba. Overall I think he’ll be somewhere in the middle but only time will tell and it’s too early to judge him definitively just as it is too early to judge the table.

Do people really expect West Ham to be in the Champions League spots in April? We’ve won titles when we’ve been massively behind and we’ve lost titles when we’ve been massively ahead. Time is on the side of every team in this league and who challenged for the title won’t become clear until the season has ended.

Had we beaten Chelsea and Stoke the gap would be just four points. With so many games to play big leads can be reduced very quickly as Man City have shown in recent weeks having been written off themselves.

If you want Arsenal to compete you should at least afford them the time to show if they can. Don’t write them off and put them down with 23 games left to go. Mull things over for a while, assess the situation in February or March when Arsenal might be 2nd and playing in a quarter final.

If you want Arsenal to challenge for the title first ask yourself what you truly consider a challenge to be and then see if Arsenal meet or better your minimum expectations before you use the challenge argument as another noose to hang around Arsenal’s neck.

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About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

4 Responses to “I Just Want Arsenal To Compete”

  1. North Bank Lew says:

    Great post. A little island of sense in a sea of negativity.

  2. Umoru Eric says:

    Well said Daniel, I completely agree with u on this one, that it ain’t over yet. But personally I welcome criticism under any heading as it is capable of stimulating the much needed change. Victoria Concordia Crescit

  3. Ben says:

    Don’t write them off with 23 games left to go? If Arsenal challenge for the title this season (i’ll go further and say if they get within 5 points of 1st during any stage of the season), I will make a world record skydive attempt. Pigs might fly.

    Had we done this, had we done that. It’s been the same story every season for the past 10 years. We should have beat Man City, we should have beat Man Utd, we should have beat Spurs, we should have beat Hull. Instead, we took 3 out of those 12 pts. So much for winning games playing badly, we struggle to take points in games we dominate.

    The team is a complete shambles, and it’s only the poor form of Tottenham and Liverpool that give them a slight chance of making the top 4 again.

    We are miles away from a title challenge. Call me a pessimist, but I never expected the so-called title challenge to last much beyond Christmas last season. Koscielny helped hold the defence together against inferior opposition to scrap for maximum points, but our performances against the rest of the top 6 showed our true quality. This team has no backbone, so as much as it doesn’t meet the fans expectations and shouldn’t be accepted, finishing in the top 4 should be met with relief and gratefulness that there are 16 worse teams in the league each season.

  4. ljb says:

    Hope west ham stay in the top4 to put handsome bastards like you in your place.Might be nice to beat a team in the top half of the table for a change and until we do I’m not changing my pants.And get further than the round of 16 in the CL.But hey im just a self entitled prick who expects better of a club with the highest ticket prices and with a manager who has had 18 years to get it right.

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