Top of the league, and we're long shots to win the Prem. Fine.

Chelsea’s win today at the Etihad seems to have worked out very well in our favor, as both they and Man City now sit two points behind us in the Prem. Had the two drawn, City would be but a point behind, and Chelsea woud be four back. With Liverpool eight points back, it’s looking more and more like a three-club race, and despite our position atop the Prem, a position we’ve held after 18 of 23 match-days, a position that City has held just once and Chelsea not at all, we’re still seen as underdogs punching above our weight, waiting for the other shoe to drop, and so on.

It’s enough to drive a fan mad. After all, we’ve been in stellar form ever since the opening day loss to Aston Villa. However, we suffer a bit in the comparison, as our reputation trails us from previous years. Simply put, we’ve been rather fortunate to have finished fourth (or third here and there) over the last five years, a span of time that has seen Chelsea win the Prem and the Champions League and Man City win the Prem. By contrast, we’re upstarts. The media and the betting sites figure the same, reckoning that it’s only a matter of time before we stumble, leaving Chelsea and Man City to slug it out to see who can be the grand-champion of the SMTSP Cup—the Spend Money to Stockpile Players Cup.
Shouldn’t we get our panties in a twist over this? After all, we’re winning with flair and with grit; gone are the defensive frailties that saw us concede goals on set-pieces and individual errors and dumb luck. We’re playing stylish football and stringing together wins, no matter the venue. We haven’t dropped points carelessly since West Brom and…and…and yet, we’re still the dark horse. The plucky little guy. Just happy to be in the conversation, to be honest, thank you kindly, sorry to be in the way, we’ll be on our way shortly…
Man City and Chelsea carry with them—dare I say it?—pedigree. Chelsea have won the Prem in 2010. They won the Champions League in 2012. Hell, they’re the defending Europa Leage champions (snort if you will). Man City won the Prem in 2012. By contrast, we haven’t won silverware of any sort since 2005 (FA Cup, for enquiring minds). As such, it’s only natural that the chattering class focuses on their rivalry and dismisses our challenge. 
Let the two of them vie for the headlines. Let Mourinho grow fat on the limelight and Man City feast on visiting teams. Heap the pressure on them—not that we can’t endure scrutiny. If we’re neglected or undermined in the press, what does it matter? If anything, it’s grist for the mill. Let them continue to say “you’re not good enough” and “yes, you’re top of the table—for now.” Let City and Chelsea convince themselves that the Prem is rightfully theirs to win. So much the better for us, I say.
Each team has an Achilles’ heel, of course. Both City and Chelsea falter just a bit on the road, and even City’s vaunted home-form has slowed quite a bit—”only” seven goals in their last three. Chelsea are just a bit less up-and-down than Man U, winning at the Etihad but then drawing at home at West Ham, losing at Stoke and eking out a home-win over Crystal Palace.  We’re hampered by injuries, more so than either of our rivals. However, our consistency, though less glitzy, offers a little of quiet confidence in the long run. A draw at St. Mary’s Stadium, home draws with “play not to lose” Mourinho and always-stubborn Everton. You’d have to reach back to find when we’ve last stumbled, and that’s from where I draw my confidence. Again, it’s quiet, calm confidence, one that draws less attention to itself than Mourinho’s relentless self-aggrandizing or Man City’s blitzkrieg scoring, but it’s a confidence that could carry this club across the finish line just as effectively, if not more so, than our rivals’ sources of strength.
There are fourteen matches to be played. 42 points on the table. If we take 41—far-fetched, but not unheard—it simply won’t matter what Chelsea or City do. Of course, it’s far more likely to admit that we’ll stumble, but so too will they. We might be the dark-horses, but, ironically, we’re running on the inside track. Write us off, media, at your peril.

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10 thoughts on “Top of the league, and we're long shots to win the Prem. Fine.

  1. Anonymous

    It's impossible to take 41 points … 42 maybe or 40, but not 41 since you can only win 0,1 or 3 points per game. So yes, 41 is far-fetched … and unheard of.

  2. Anonymous

    The media believed MC were invincible or unplayable. Nothing can be further from the truth.It's up to the manager to decide on the tactics.Wenger said Messi was unplayable in the cl game. But yet Chelsea beat Barca in cl.As for Arsenal some crunch matches are coming up. Mu will let Arsenal have plenty of possession and hit on the break.The gunners hdl in the Palace game is ideal for the rd.Arsenal must not look for the killer pass. I hope OX's game at running at defenders will continue.He could be the catalyst to fire the gunners to a trophy this season.

  3. Anonymous

    You have the tactic, mental strength,experience and resilience to be atop and be declared prem chaps! mind you all your patience in 10 apiece,great gooners, match on.James Omwega,Nairobi,Kenya. Just behind you n every step in all matches.

  4. Anonymous

    Well done sir! I say why the hell can't we win the league? But it's all about enjoying the ride, we have had some great moments this year… COYG!!

  5. Anonymous

    The reason Arsenal is seen as underdogs is because they've consistently gotten rubbery knees everytime they've come up against proven champions and current serious title contenders since they started selling their biggest characters, even this season vs Man City, Chelsea and Man United, and there's a lot of those matches still left to play with the upcoming schedule.Sure, they might snag a point away to Liverpool and at home to Man United but there's no evidence at all that Wenger is able to change something tactically or that someone in the squad is actually ready to step up and lead the team to glory against Man City or away to Chelsea for example and if they keep losing those matches they're not gonna win any trophies. It's very simple. Very few players in Arsenal know what it takes to be a champion in a competition that matters.

  6. Anonymous

    Got to laugh. Man City will beat you and so will Chelsea in the return fixtures and then bye bye arse nal


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