It’s Hard To Say But LFC Have Shown Arsenal The Way
It’s been a strange season full of surprises, none more so for Arsenal fans than for the Gunners to be top of the table heading into February. The rest of course has been frustrating and painful for Gooners but is starting to unravel favourably. A top four finish and FA Cup glory will see to that.
Arsenal aside, there have been other major surprises: the destructive demise of Manchester United (that we only took one point from them this season adds grates), Liverpool storming to the top, Man City and Chelsea faltering when looking strong, and Crystal Palace escaping relegation when they looked dead and buried. If you were able to predict any of that then you may as well start to bet on football at William Hill as you’ll soon end up a wealthy man!
There’s no doubting that Liverpool’s success has a lot to do with the fact that no European football and limited cup runs has allowed them to focus solely on the Premier League and keep their eyes on the prize. Despite losing to Chelsea, it’s still possible that they will be crowned champions, which they will deserve in my opinion as they’ve been the most consistent and entertaining team this season. It will also be poetic given that this is the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
But what does Liverpool’s fine form tell us about Arsenal’s progression – or lack of in many fans’ eyes? Firstly, injuries have blighted Arsenal yet again, with the entire attack and heartbeat of the team in Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski and Cazorla all missing lengthy periods of the season. Liverpool in comparison have been able to keep their main goal threats fully fit throughout, bar the recent injury to Daniel Sturridge that has seen him miss the last couple of games.
Another major factor in my opinion is togetherness within the club. Liverpool have expressed a spirit and harmony all season, and the Hillsborough anniversary has only strengthened that bond. The fans – many of whom were losing patience with Manager Brendan Rodgers last season – have backed him throughout and the lack of any Suarez shaped misdemeanor has allowed the club to focus fully on their goal. Their star player’s previous discrepancies have not only tarnished Liverpool’s reputation but also been a huge distraction. Not this season though.
Arsenal on the other hand have been divided as many fans are wanting change at the top – be it at Board room level, Wenger or both. That has caused a few toxic atmospheres at the Emirates and visibly affected the players on the pitch.
Another big factor has been the Champions League. Arsenal have again shown that the squad depth in terms of quality – particularly once the inevitable injuries began to occur – has not been conducive in allowing for consistency – and quality – required to mount serious challenges in europe as well as in the Premier League. Liverpool haven’t had this issue.
And finally, it also helps to have one of the best strikers in world football leading the charge. Liverpool certainly have that in Suarez, a player who wanted to leave and sign for Arsenal, during the now infamous ‘ghost clause’ and £40,000,001 bid. Who would honestly have believed Liverpool would win the title after that? Those who did may end up kicking themselves if they didn’t put their money where their mouth is.