Who can stop us winning the title this season?

By Tony Attwood

Pre-season time is traditionally “lists” time, although the papers of late have taken us into the all-the-year-round-list of “five things we learned from the way the referee walked out of the tunnel” variety of late.

But we are almost there – we’ve got the ref preview from Andrew coming up and the match previews from Bulldog Drummond, and then kerpow we’re off and winning or “oh bugger” we’ve done another of those opening disasters in a match we are bound to win.

So here we are.  The last Untold “10 things” (sometimes transmuted to “seven things” or “five things”) of the pre-season.   After this, the real business starts.


10 things that can stop us winning the title in 2016.

1.  The aaa

Not nearly the force they were, as it seems a bit pathetic to cry out that Wenger is way past his sell-by date after two FA Cups, becoming the most successful FA Cup team in history, equalling top scorer for a cup final since the 19th century, two Charity Shields against (obviously) the champions, and that amazing continuing run of 256 consecutive years in the Champions League….

And really the aaa were more a bunch of schoolboys without tickets by and large.  I think what did it for them was the “worst start in 30 years” gibberish last season, and the “starting the season with only five defenders” lark.

Oh and the overwhelming criticism of Bellerin and dismissal of Coquelin upon his return from Charlton as “clearly third rate”.

Chances of them causing us any concern this season: 0/10

2.  The referees

Now this is a lot more serious.  The low number of Premier League refs continues, type III match fixing looks ever more likely given the money sloshing around, PGMO refuse steadfastly to explain how their figures of ref accuracy are arrived at (while we of course are totally open about our figures), and we’ve now shown the mechanism for type III match fixing.

It all looks very bleak.  Add in the new guidance on the offside law and the opportunity for a ref to stop a team winning still looks horrific.

Is there anything working in our favour?   Well, yes two things.  Nothing like enough to counter all the above, but something.

First, there was a real sign in the latter part of last season that refs were being slightly influenced by our previews and reviews.  They knew we were looking and reporting, and the gradual realisation that we were getting a million page views a month on Untold Arsenal meant that a lot of people were reading and noting.

Second, last season a number of managers broke rank and openly criticised some of the more outrageous efforts of referees.   There is a chance they will do the same again.

Chances of them causing us any concern this season: 8.5/10 (down from 10/10 in every one of the last five years).

3.  The FA/League

Bumbling buffoons with their rampant self-interest of course, but able through their lunacy to throw a spanner in any works.  Remember the only time a club in the modern game has had two points deducted for players having a bit of argy bargy on the pitch?  Yep, it was Arsenal under George Graham, when we were heading for the title.  (We still won it, but my goodness they tried everything that year to stop us).

If they let Tottenham or Chelsea use Wembley that could cause a problem for everyone else – but that is at least a year away, so that leaves the FA willingly participating in mindless friendlies and associated internationals, and forgetting (as they did recently in a high profile anti-discrimination document) that among the many things they are against, one of them should be sexual discrimination.

Goodness, don’t they actually have anyone among the shedloads of bumbling duffers who can check a policy document before it goes out?

Chances of them causing us any concern this season: 4/10

4.  Press/TV

One defeat of Arsenal and they will be back to how stupid Wenger is in not buying 25 new players when they were clearly available, how fixed he is in his ideas and how his new ideas don’t work (both at the same time.)

They do of course get the aaa worked up, but there is a feeling that they have found a few new targets of late, and it might be that the love affair with Chelsea is continuing to wane.  Man U have been less flavour of the month since dropping out the Champs League, and the cut of the women’s replica shirt didn’t help their image either.

The Telegraph might well run some more PGMO press releases as pieces of “cutting edge research” and the Independent will continue to print wild tales about how badly Barcelona has been treated by the Spanish FA, and all will continue to pretend that the issue of refereeing is no issue at all, so they can knock player confidence and they can whip up a storm in a teaspoon.

Chances of them causing us any concern this season: 6/10

5.  Injuries

Jack going out for a month before the season started is a blow, but the squad does look stronger.   Will the referees allow the unmitigated assault on Arsenal players of the past 10 years, or will they be slightly more even handed?  If the latter, the number of injuries will go down.  Also there was a strong indication in the second half of last season that the new training team were collectively having a real influence on injuries.

Combine the squad strength, with the training and a slight improvement in the refereeing, and add in the fact that the squad has so many players who can play in different positions, and the chance of a total disruption form injuries is down significantly I feel.  This could be the really big change over recent years.

Chances of injuries causing us any concern this season: 6/10

6.  Chelsea

They were champions, 12 points above us last season, but were shunted out of the cup very embarrassingly indeed (funny we don’t hear much about that).  If we’d won at their place instead of having the false sending off, and sneaked a goal against them at the Ems that would have been five more points to us and four less to them, resulting in Arsenal on 80 Chelsea on 83.  They will still win the league, but it shows how much difference two games meet.

Still the team to beat, but then we just did that in the Charity Shield, and don’t let anyone tell you they didn’t want to win that.

Chances of them causing us any concern this season: 9/10

7.  Man U

Five points behind us and 17 behind the champions, knocked out at home by Arsenal in the cup and having to play the extra round to get into the Champions League.  OK they will sail through the extra round but it is still a distraction in the early weeks.

They are rebuilding, and will rebuild some more, but I am not sure they are going to hit the ground running.  It all depends if you think Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Sergio Romero are everything they need.  I am not convinced of an integration into the team fast enough to give them a lift.

Chances of them causing us any concern this season: 6/10

8.  Man C

In the end we eased up in the league once 3rd was secured, because of the Cup Final, but if those matches at the end of the season had mattered, you would have seen a different Arsenal out there.  That defeat to Swansea and draw with Sunderland could easily have been two wins if things had really mattered lifting to being below them only on goal difference.

I almost get the feeling that they felt that because of all the money invested in the local economy with the training centre etc they just expected everyone else to roll over and are still surprised it didn’t happen.

It started to go wrong for them of course with Uefa standing up against them and I am not sure they have fully recovered.  Of course they could still spend money, but they don’t have much much flexibility left in the finances because of FFP, and the losses that are allowed this year are reduced.

And after all the fuss will Sterling really make a difference?  Not sure.

Chances of them causing us any concern this season: 7/10

9. Liverpool

I really do love Liverpool.  Sterling will not leave, will not leave, over my dead body, absolutely won’t… oh shit.

What a way to run a club.  I can’t see them rising up and displacing the current top four until they get their management and ownership style sorted out.  And they have the distraction of the stadium upgrade.  Could they make up the 17 point deficit of last season, and avenge that defeat at the Ems, not to mention the defeat to Stoke at the end of the season?   Nope.

Chances of them causing us any concern this season: 2/10

10.  Tottenham H

They make their profit year on year, and ended up 11 points behind us so we could sing “It happened again.”   Even more than Liverpool the stadium upgrade is the big distraction, and there is no Bale to sell.    Only three players in this summer, so far Kevin Wimmer, Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, very un-Tottenham, but at least they are getting rid of some of the rubbish.  (Adebayor anyone?)  (Incidentally I love the way they talk up their strong negotiating stance and yet still have Adebayor sitting there on a huge salary refusing to move).

But they are the annoying neighbours, so maybe could do something just to spite us.  Could Harry Kane do it again?  Possible, but certainly not assured.  And as far as I read it they actually only have three first team forwards on their books.

Chances of them causing us any concern this season: 4/10

* * *

So that’s it.  I hope you’ve had a jolly pre-season, and have appreciated the efforts of the Untold team to keep you occupied and amused since the Cup Final.  It wasn’t easy, we’ve sweated tears and cried blood, or something like that.  But at least Sir Hardly Anyone gave us a few laughs.

Anyway, tomorrow, we start the real stuff.  Arsenal against State Aid United coming up.


We’re on Twittery things @UntoldArsenal

21 Replies to “Who can stop us winning the title this season?”

  1. For me only no: 2 is a concern . But having said that , if they allow us to be kicked and fouled with impunity , no: 5 might be a problem. But we have an impressive bench , as well as some fine youngsters to call upon.

  2. I agree with BFG – if the refs behave then can make all of the rest look stupid.

  3. No Jupiter can stop Arsenal to win the Barcklays Premier League title this season if they play to win it. So, the ball is in the Gunners’ court to play and win it. Apart of the talking big by some Gunners who have professed that the Gunners will win the title this season, but how very serious minded and resolved to win are all the senior Gunners are to not only win the title but to complete the winnings of the remaining 4 titles of the fifthruple to make it 5 titles won this season? Winning the fifthruple is not unsurmountable. Having won the Shield, the Gunners can surmount the remaining 4 titles by becoming very serious and resolved to win them. Kicking their game number 2 of this season off at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday’s early kick off game against the Hammers, the Gunners have the opportunity to start that 1000th mile journey by beating boastful Selven Bilic side resoundingly.

  4. Injuries and no top striker – our two biggest threats to a better season than last.
    I don’t think we will win the league though. Wenger has not managed to put together a team consistent enough for that in many years.

  5. @Brickfields G,
    I think 2 and 5 are virtually indivisible. Most of our long-term injuries can be attributed to the lack of proper protection from Riley’s PGMOL.

  6. Jayram Asshole.

    A cursory search shows you active at 3 sites, one of which has died.

    But 10 days or so:2015/08/05:Shuld have been booted out of the club 5 years ago.

    in a discussion about Wenger.

    Please, get a membership at leGrove and enjoy life there. You aren’t an Arsenal fan, and Arsenal supporter or anything similar. You are just a pain in the ass.

    Or better yet, go support Chelsea, ManU, ManC, Liverpool or whoever.

    They might even like you. I don’t think anybody in Arsenal space can stand you.

  7. A very good article Walter. As others have stated, the referee-injury relationship will be key, as will the inclination of the referees to allow Arsenal to be disrupted during matches in an illegal manner.

    I have a small hope. The EPL is about money so old Mike Riley surely takes his orders from the money boys, Scudamore not being a small player in that. With the rebuilding of Man Utd, the aging Man City and a fragile Chelsea squad – that just won the title – perhaps Arsenal will be given free rein to play their unique brand of exciting football. I hope that the EPL money men are foresighted enough to realise that Chelsea’s brand of football is boring and turns viewers off, whereas Arsenal, when allowed to play, produce excellent and highly watchable football.

    So, I would pose a number 11 to the above 10:

    11. The willingness of the EPL money men to allow the Arsenal ‘brand’ to grow and win a title – thereby reinforcing the EPL ‘brand’ and allowing additional revenue due to a diversity of EPL winners and ‘brands’. (One can only hope)

  8. Gord!!!!!!!!….

    Dont waste your time on shit heads.

    These people conveniently forget that Henry was not bought, he was made.

  9. For the readers reference, recent title tilts:

    The 49th game

    The 07/08 season

    10/11 – can’t remembered if it was this year or the one before, the season where we had the Taylor debut “performance” with the two denials of two pelanty calls against Arshavin in the Sunderland home game.

    13/14 – the hacking of Walcott had a unignorable impact in the goals scored column etc.

  10. 2, 3, 4, 5.
    Everything else we can master.
    The lads know they have to go for it, this is their time now. They have trained for so long, taken all the jibes, held their heads up high and now…
    The go fourth and conquer, conquer their fears, embrace the ball like a special friend and take back what is yours, that which has been missing for so long. Got carried away there. 🙂

    Either they are going to assault Arsenal now, like the AV game a time back, or they are going to let Arsenal do it’s thing. We will see tomorrow, and so the season begins.

  11. Great write up Tony!
    While watching the Chelsea-Swansea game, I think you might have to adjust the chances of them causing us any concern this season for points 2 and 4.

    In regards to point 2, Michael Oliver seems to have been reeducated the Riley way, letting lots of Chelsea fouls go. For instance, at the end of the 1st half, Matic runs over one of the Swansea players to steal the ball, no foul called, Matic passes to Hazard and Cork fouls him and receives a yellow card. The 2nd call was correct, but would not have happened if he made the right call on the first instance.

    In regards to point 4, the commentators say that Matic overpowered the guy with brute force. Also after Hazard goes down from a light push, they say defenders need to learn not to put their hands up on Hazard and Oscar because they’ll go down and get free kicks for their team.

  12. Jerry

    Oliver got the really big call right, the pen and sending off. The pen was correct, on the line and the red was correct, because even if it didn’t prevent on obvious goal scoring opportunity, which is at least debatable, it was late, high and reckless, ergo a sending off.

    But other than that, there does seem to be 2 completely different sets of rules for what warrants a foul/yellow/red card for Chelsea, and what does for the rest of us.

    And of course how they are subsequently judged by the pundits.

  13. I agree he got that call right Jambug. I made my comment at the end of the first half, and was surprised at the number of fouls let go in that first half.

  14. Courtois sent off???

    when was the last time we see that @ Chelsea?
    The initiative is ours now , let us go hammering @ Stadium Wenger without pressures.
    The Blue Bus company will slithers to Man city and drop another 2 /3 points while we are picking up us full points like ripe berries from the EPL orchard.

    I believe Providence is out to favour The Arsenal in the coming days beginning now for her humaneness, fairness in a football world of carnivorous ideology.

    Goodluck @ The Emirates

  15. Cant find the point referring to Arsenal playing shit. Is that point 6 Tony? Thought so.

  16. FFP not stopping city look at who we are buying how much we are spending focus on your own weaknesses

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