A few weeks ago, Wenger was claiming United had an unfair advantage in the league and that you couldn’t rule out Aston Villa or Everton from winning the league.
Since then, someone has knocked a bit of sense in to him, with the Frenchman now acknowledging his side’s chances of catching United are slim to none.
“United look untouchable at the moment because they are already a long way ahead and have this game against Fulham, which they will certainly win,” said Wenger. “That means they will be 15 points ahead of us and, for us to catch them, we would need them to lose five games. Let’s say they lose one of those against Arsenal, we’d still need them to lose another four — and they haven’t done that so far this season.”
Of course, he might be trying to add a bit of spice in to the situation still, wrongly claiming that we will certainly beat Fulham in order to put the pressure on us and possibly give further inspiration to our opponents, however, it more or less comes as an admission of failure.
Last season, Arsenal lead the table until February, before crumbling under the ridiculous leadership of Gallas (something Wenger should have drawn a line under long before the former rentboy slagged off his team mates!) and their title race was ended once and for all at Old Trafford. After Adebayor scored with his hand to give Arsenal the lead, United fought back to win 2-1 and the Gooners were resigned to finishing third.
At the start of this season, RoM predicted that Arsenal were not going to be a threat this season, but even then couldn’t have imagined just how hard and fast their fall would be. No doubt the injuries to the likes of Fabregas, Eduardo and van Persie have an effect, but then, United too have been without the likes of Rooney, Scholes, Rio, Anderson, Evra, Brown, Neville etc. for months at a time too. Injuries happen and a good manager has to prepare for these things. Arsenal were in no way prepared for any injuries following their fire sale in the summer and it is a manager’s responsbility to deal with those things.
We are well acquainted with Arsenal perspectives on this blog, with their fans all too happy to let us know what they think when NewsNow brings them in our direction. Any criticism about their club is met with responses about debt, but winning the European Cup earns you £80 million in total, whilst getting past the group stages earns you £30 million. Before even television revenue is included, qualifying for the Champions League sees you paid £2.6 million from UEFA, participating in the Group stages earns another £2 million, with every win bringing in £530,000 and every draw worth £250,000. Wenger has been praised by sections of the Arsenal support for being sensible in the transfer market to ease the repayment of the debt, but their debt becomes less manageable if they miss out on the millions of quid competing in the Champions League usually gives them. Buying an experienced player or two to bulk up their midfield is starting to look like a more sensible option to managing their debt than selling everyone and replacing them with kids!
It’s an end of an era, with the United vs Arsenal games meaning less and less each season. At present, they are five points away from a Champions League qualifying place and twelve points behind United, despite playing a game more. Whilst I certainly enjoy seeing them suffering, following the years of media-wanking over Arsenal’s beautiful football, there’s something rather sad about seeing Wenger admit defeat at the hands of United…
…and I’m over it already.