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October 2016
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A complete guide to how the League will pan out next season


By Tony Attwood

I like to think I know a bit about Arsenal and the club’s players (although I know many will disagree with this view) but I am certain I don’t know too much about the ins and outs of other teams.

But it has always struck me that it isn’t just players who win clubs the championship, but quite a few other distracting factors around the game.

So I’ve tried to put some thoughts together on last season’s top ten and what might affect the other nine, not in terms of who they sign, but what goes on around them.

Pos in 2015/16 Team What will happen in 2016/17
1 Leicester City  Spent £40m on salary adjusts after misjudging new contracts rather badly, and have Europe to cope with.  Secretive marketing operation that pulls in the money could come back to haunt them.  No other club that made the leap from lower reaches to top has ever held onto the position for a second season. 
2 Arsenal The fact that the media and bloggettas focus totally on transfers is always to Arsenal’s advantage because that means no one is quite ready for the surprises the club springs.   Coquelin, Bellerin, Iwobi and the only club in the universe not to sign an outfield player.    With the aaa still sniping the distraction from what Arsenal actually does could be so great that we could win the league without anyone noticing.  Just as Giroud scores and everyone says he never scores.  A clever ploy.  A lot however depends on the refs.  And the form of Alexis an Theo.  Both fully on song and we’ll be brilliant.
3 Tottenham Hotspur Screwed up at end of season and five messed up for England will weigh heavily on their minds; as soon as they get above Arsenal they’ll be looking over their shoulders. Every England fan will boo them for the defeat to Iceland.  But must be thrilled that they were not mentioned in EC investigation into Real Madrid finances.   Have the Champs League to think about, but will once again have the media totally on their side.  Also can be assured that they can fight pitched battles (as with game against Chelsea) and not be deducted points.   They also have a reduced sized stadium; that could help or hinder, it is hard to say.
4 Manchester City Pro: state funded ground, as much money as they want, perfect youth facilities, and yet they managed to struggle and only got a Champs League spot at the end of the season.  Now have to play Champ League qualifiers on 16/17 August with nine players having been in the Euros which isn’t that clever.   Crowd were terrible at the end with their empty stadium farewell to a decent manager; that certainly hurt what was left of their PR manufactured new image.
5 Manchester United For the other Manchester team the PR depends on whether Mourinho is loved or laughed at.  I assumed he would be loved but the Telegraph launched an attack on his youth policy this week, so maybe not.  The club’s attack was dire last year but is Rooney the answer?  Money no object; but Mourinho’s always in danger of believing his own propaganda; he probably believes he can walk on water and that means he is alwys one step from another disaster as with Dr Carneiro.  
6 Southampton Another manager gone; Puel arrives.  They are in the Europa League, which might prove a distraction.  There was a horrible nasty approach to their fouling which the media chose to ignore last season.  If they get picked up on it by refs, they could be in trouble. 
7 West Ham United Mega stadium paid by tax payer.  They have it all and ought to win the League, with everything the state has given them.  Anything less will be inexcusable.  They have virtually no expenses and have the Conservative Party in their pockets if they ever need to call on them for help.  Even the PR disaster over the attacks on the Man U bus didn’t put the newspaper industry off.  A poor defence needs sorting, but they can pull every string ever strung at the political level to get anything they want.  A disgrace, but that’s the way Britain is run these days.
8 Liverpool If belief in their own propaganda and support from media won the league they’d win it by 20 points every year.  Their Europa cup final was going to be the launch pad for an era of mega success, as was the year before and year before.  They have actually finished above sixth just once in the last seven years, but read the media or watch Match of the Day and you’d think they had won the Double seven times running.  More of the same will bring more excuses.  And ultimately a change of manager.
9 Stoke City Fight the dirty fight.  Again.  They get special treatment from refs and the media lays off them, and excuses every horror show.   They will injure lots of players.  Again.  And their fans will boo and jeer any player who has ever suffered from their kicking.  Again.  A total and absolute disgrace of a football club.
10 Chelsea They surely can’t be that bad again can they?   They have as much dosh as they need, and no distraction from Europe, no need to worry about youngsters and bringing them through, and no notion that anything they do can ever be wrong.  And yet for half the season they were truly awful.  Also the game v Tottenham shows them that they are immune from any serious handling by the refs.

Anyway, that’s just a personal view.

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14 comments to A complete guide to how the League will pan out next season

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    This article posting’s write-ups to the right- side on my phone screen on club Leicester to Chelsea can’t be read in full as half of the word typings on that right side down to the end of it are cutoff. So since am not enabled to read the full write-ups, I won’t be able to make any comment on this article topic posting. I’very never experienced this kind of article typing settings on my phone which can’t be slide sideways to read the typed words.

  • Ryan F

    Arsenal: after a shaky few opening weeks, the Gunners finally get their act together and go on a good run from September to November that sees them top of the league.

    However, injuries to key players around the crucial winter months rack up. Forced to blood some youngsters, a player from Arsenal’s youth system will make a number of spirited displays and earn a first team place.

    However, results suffer (including a Champions’ League defeat in the first knockout round), and the Gunners drift down the league, below even Tottenham.

    However, when the pressure’s off and results don’t matter any more (now they are out of the title race), Arsenal pick up some late momentum in the closing weeks of the season, finishing above Spurs and into the Champions’ League spots.

    I’m neither an AKB or a WOB (I’m pretty ambivalent about Wenger to be honest), but it’s the ennui that kills me, the fact that it’s the same old story every year.

    Much as I’d love a title challenge extend into April or May, I don’t really see it coming. As Sophie Ellis-Bextor once sang, A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed.

    Prove me wrong, Arsene, please?!?

  • Ryan F

    Happened with my phone too. Try rotating the screen 90 degrees and viewing the page in landscape. Worked for me!

  • colario

    From today’s Guardian.

    ‘José Mourinho came prepared and claimed at his unveiling press conference to have “promoted 49 youth players from academies” in an answer to critics who have said that he does not give young players a chance.’

    The Guardian lists the players in this article at.

    it would be interesting to know Arsene’s list from 2000 to now.

  • Jambug

    Liverpool are normally nowhere near winning the PL, last winning it way back in 1990, and the one season they where they blew it big style.

    Not only that but due to our stadium commitments Liverpool have for years been spending many times what we have in the transfer market.

    Spurs are normally nowhere near winning the PL, last winning it way way way back in, well I’m sure I don’t know, but it was in black and white, I know that, and the first chance they get, they blow it, big style. They even capitulate so much they blow the runners up spot.

    Neither of those capitulations where treated as capitulations, rather they where heralded as ‘glorious failures’.

    And so it goes.

    We haven’t won the title because we haven’t been good enough. Simple as that.

    The reasons are many and varied.

    It is true we’ve been out in front and faded.

    It is also true we have come with a late run.

    The reasons, as I say are varied.

    Referees. Many wont agree, but the revues suggest at least it has an influence.

    Injuries. We do SEEM to get a lot but as statistics produced by UA show they are, although above average, by no means the worst. The thing I would say is, when you are fighting the 3 of the richest Clubs in the World, with squads put together at up to TEN times the cost of ours, injuries can be more telling for us at crucial moments, than it is for them, with 20/30 Million pound players sat on the bench.

    But after all that my point is really about certain fans.

    I bet you a pound to a pinch of shit that the fans of both Liverpool and Spurs didn’t/don’t moan about there Clubs one tenth the amount ours do about us..

    Honestly, when I read the sort of crap I have read above, I despair.

  • para

    I think Liverpool, West Ham, Man Utd and perhaps Chelsea will pose a threat mainly because of their managers respective knowledge of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, unless AW has evolved a few new ideas and concepts to add to our game.

    Now if Arsenal play like they can, names/has the squad to deal with injuries, the new players are allowed to bring their own individual spark of change into the team, are dynamic(constantly changing to adapt to the game as it plays) instead of static(as in trying the same thing over and over again), then they will all struggle against us.

    Arsenal has to treat every game as a must win game and concentrate for a full season on the title with no distractions(hopefully) and we will win it.

    Leonardo Bonucci, a defender worth looking at???

  • doc

    Harvard Nordtveit is going to West Ham

  • para

    A quote about Klopp at Liverpool:
    Klopp has acquired four new players ahead of 2016-17, with more incomings due to follow as he shapes a squad capable of “playing different systems and reacting to different situations.”

    This last part really makes me smile:
    “playing different systems and reacting to different situations.”
    and i wish that AW would take this type of thing on board a little more. 🙂

  • Andy Mack

    I think that should be
    “I bet you a pound to a pinch of shit that the fans of both Liverpool and Spurs WOULDN’T moan about there Clubs FINISHING 2nd IN THE LEAGUE one tenth the amount ours do about us..”
    Both the Scousers and the Tinys are real moaners and certainly whinge bigtime about their clubs but after so many years without real success they’d both be ecstatic to be in our position last season.

  • Tom

    Arsenal are competing against clubs with squads up to TEN times the cost of ours?

    Arsenal squad cost £251.9m
    Man City £418.8m
    Tottenham £161.1m
    Leicester City £ 54.4 m
    Chelsea £346m
    Man U £453m

    According to ESPN FC data Man U was the most expensive side assembled last season, and as expensive as it was, it wasn’t even double the price of Arsenal squad.

    So where is this TEN fold coming from?

  • Mick

    Jambug is talking about the accumulative spend over the last few years I would guess, not just the current squad values.

  • Tom

    Is he?
    Last 5 years gross and net spend by clubs in pound sterling.
    1. Man City 432m( 296m net)
    2.United 409m ( 280m net)
    3. Chelsea 420m ( 167m net)
    4. Arsenal 244m (158m net)

  • Jambug


    You have interpreted what I said incorrectly, so to make myself clear. I said:

    “…when you are fighting the 3 of the richest Clubs in the World, with squads put together at up to TEN times the cost of ours”

    I was referring to the amount spent ON the squads over the years, not the value of the current squads. I would of thought that was clear as I was obviously responding to a post that was referring to perceived, repetitive failures, over many years, by saying the following:

    “I’m neither an AKB or a WOB (I’m pretty ambivalent about Wenger to be honest), but it’s the ennui that kills me, the fact that it’s the same old story every year.”

    “every year” it says, so why would I just be referring to the current squad values. Never mind you know now.

    I have posted here many many times the relative nett spends of ourselves, Chelsea, Man city, Man United (and Liverpool) in great detail as in this article by Tony back on the 7th of March, entitled:

    “The real reason why some clubs do better than others – and its not transfers or managerial changes.”

    This is what I posted:

    Since we last won the PL in ’03 ’04 and the oil money arrived in West London the only Clubs to win the PL are Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City. (Now Leicester City as well of course)

    Chelsea’s and United’s respective net spending since then (13 seasons) has been:

    Chelsea: £577 Million or £44.3 Million per season.

    Man Utd: £400 Million or £30.7 Million per season.

    And Man Cities Nett spending since the oil money arrived (9 seasons) has been:

    £680 Million or £75 Million per season.

    Arsenals Nett spending since our last title, and the commitment to the Emirates stadium, which incidentally cost close to £500 Million, has been:

    £88 Million or £6.7 Million per season.

    With a Nett spend on transfers:

    One FIFTH that of Man Utds

    One SEVENTH that of Chelseas

    One TENTH that of Man Cities.

    As for your attempt to big up our spending over the last five years, I don’t know where you got your figures but this is from

    Arsenals Nett spend

    11/12 £17 Million PROFIT, that’s PROFIT.

    12/13 £8.6 Million

    So we can hardly count a nett PROFIT of £8 Million as BIG spending can we?

    13/14 £32.5 Million

    14/15 £65.5 Million

    15/16 £13.2 Million

    I don’t know where you get your 5 year Nett spend of £158 Million, I make that about £103 Million

    So despite you efforts to inflate our spending, basically we’ve had just TWO, Yep, just TWO seasons of big spending. Our last 3 years net spend has been £111 Million.

    Man City did almost that last Summer alone.

    So lets have a look at how we have compared with those 3, trophy wise, over the last 3 years, where I agree we have at least got a little closer to there spending. (But even so, lets not forget we are trying to catch up on years and years of massive spending). Anyway, this is the domestic trophy count for the 4 of us these last 3 seasons.

    Man Utd: 1 PL, 1 FA Cup.

    Man City: 1 PL, 2 League cups.

    Chelsea: 1 PL, 1 League Cup.

    Arsenal: 2 FA Cups.

    Also our PL finishing has been on an upward curve, unlike some, and we have qualified for the CL every season, again, unlike some.

    Of course the miss is the PL, but 2 FA cups and a PL Runners up spot suggests we have closed the gap considerably, whilst still, if you’re honest, a long way from matching there spending.

  • Tom

    I didn’t inflate or big up Arsenal spending intentionally but simply typed last five year spending by clubs in the PL into Google and used the first result the search produced.
    If the numbers listed by the ”” are inaccurate then my bad.

    Let’s assume your numbers are correct.

    I read Tony’s article you are mentioning and I got to say I’m closer to agreement with you than him on this one.
    Where I disagree with you on spending is that I don’t believe it’s all about the money, which I believe is your position.

    Leicester City proved it last season.