I did a poll a couple of days ago asking what people thought would happen in the forthcoming season if no more signings materialised for Arsenal. And it seems that a large majority think nothing much will change in the league table from what we’re used to.
Now is that just complacence on the part of the Arsenal fanbase, or is there good reason to think we can still compete with teams who have spent a fair bit to strengthen themselves this summer?
Man Utd haven’t changed much, but they were a fair bit ahead of us last time. On the other hand, they’ve not got Awex in charge any more, so it’s quite conceivable they’ll drop off a bit. Only Arsenal and Liverpool in English football history have maintained a period of domination after changing manager.
Chelsea have Jose back in the chair, which on paper looks good for them. He’s won it before, he knows what to do, and he’ll have the media eating out of his hand for a few months at least.
Man City have bought – as usual – but a new manager there is an unknown quantity in the PL, so more of a risk. But they clearly have the quality to challenge.
Spurs have spent well on paper, though there’s no guarantee of success from that. Bale may bale, which could make a difference. I think they’ve done their buying in the expectation of him leaving, so they don’t need to go on a mad rush in the last week. It’s the right plan, but as I say, doesn’t mean success. The team has to gel – that’s where football managers earn their money.
Everton are no stronger than last time and still might lose a star or two.
Liverpool, assuming they keep Suarez, are on paper about the same as last year, though Gerrard is growing rapidly less effective and there’s no one near his level to replace him. Personally I don’t rate Rodgers as a manager of a big club, so I don’t see them as a danger to Arsenal.
I heard Pat Nevin on the radio this evening postulating that Swansea could even get into the top four. I don’t think so. And nor will anyone else not mentioned so far, the league is not that fluid.
Which brings us back to Arsenal. My feeling is that Arsenal lack the depth of squad to make a sustained challenge in the League and the best we can hope for is some good runs of form to keep us in the top five once the initial jostling settles down. The current squad is perfectly capable of that, but without the depth to bring in players when others are injured or off form it could be a struggle.
So I predict this at the end of the season:
- Man Utd
- Man City
Should I hope I’m proved right, or hope I’m proved wrong? The first world problems of being an Arsenal fan, eh?
Here’s what everyone voted in the poll: