After yesterday’s barren draw between Leicester City and Manchester City, Claudio Ranieri said it well “nobody wants to win the league”. It goes to show how poorly the big guns have fared this term. Some may be quick to blame the many unprecedented twist and turns on a superior competitive edge the Premier League has over its counterpart but then, we should be having statements like “everybody want to win the league”.
Besides, the abysmal run of seasoned campaigners like the Manchester clubs and especially defending champion Chelsea is a further prove that this season is about the poorest in the competition’s 23 year history.
All these inconsistencies in performance and consistent mediocrity as in the case of Chelsea only presents Arsenal with a chance to win their first league title in 12 years but even then, Arsene Wenger’s men are far from being favorites for the following reasons.
They’ve been here before
A decade ago, the Gunners were the second most successful Premier League side after record winners Manchester United. Ten years on, they have been clearly leapfrogged by neighbors Chelsea who decrowned them in 2005 for their first.
As a matter of fact, the London-based team have only finished as runners up once since their last taste of glory in 2004, finishing fourth on six occasions and third on four occasions. Critically, the last two times they had this kind of relatively good run, they finished third and fourth in 2008 and 2014 respectively. So safe to say that Arsenal might be at the summit halfway into the season but it is unlikely that they will be crowned come May next year.
Lack of experience and mental strength
There was time when Arsenal paraded champions like Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and David Seaman in their team. Right now, they have players that are though exciting and seemingly ambitious but relatively inexperienced.
Only a handful of players have won a league title and Petr Cech who alongside Danny Welbeck is the only player to have won the Premier League is in a rather passive role between the sticks. As a result, if recent history is anything to go by, Arsenal are nothing but a custodian of the trophy, a position which is fast becoming their unchallenged title.
If Manchester City wakes up
While the aforementioned factors are hinged on Arsenal, this is rather not dependent on Wenger’s men. As a result, even if Arsenal manage to overcome their title-pretender habit, they will still need Manchester City to continue punching below their weight. Undoubtedly, if Manuel Pellegrini’s men play to their strength, they will not only overcome the three point deficit with which they trail Arsenal, they will also win the league with relative ease.
The above could be seen as conspicuous hindrances in Arsenal’s way to a rather long awaited triumph as or a pointer to the challenges awaiting them and by implication, the solutions. Will Arsene Wenger maximize his status as the current longest serving manager in British football and lead Arsenal to success once again? If he wants to, he must start by winning with his activities in the winter transfer window. Anything short of that will only multiply the monkies on his back.
Follow Larry Eghosa on Twitter – @LarryEghosa