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.
- What a mess(i). Yet more dodgy dealings involving FC Barcelona and its players.
- The 12 Arsenal transfers making the news and at least one of them is actually true! Plus press turn on Mourinho!!
- Arsenal addition to the first team will be chosen from this shortlist revealed today.