Okay, if you’re a Spurs fan, I understand. You’ve made poor life decisions. The last thing you want to see is Arsenal winning yet another Prem title. Hey, at least you don’t have to worry about us doing it at White Hart Lane again, right? For our other rivals, it’s a bit puzzling at first to ponder why they can’t seem to stomach the thought of us winning it all. Wouldn’t it be a refreshing break from the bland, sterile hegemony that Man City have imposed on the league lo these last five years?
Peeling back the layers of this onion reveals some rather unpleasant odours emanating for other fanbases—well, more odours than usual, at least. It seems that few if any of them can tolerate much less endorse Arsenal’s bid to unseat Man City, and they each have their own petty, spiteful—but revealing—reasons.
On the surface, each club can point to a fig leaf of a reason to conceal their nefarious nether-regions. “They’re our rivals!” each can bleat to varying degrees of legitimacy. Tottenham? Yes, sure. Fine. Man U, Chelsea, and Liverpool? Meh. Sorry to say that the joke’s on, well, us, as we’ve fallen off the pace for a few seasons, dampening the rivalry with each of them. Now that we’re back on top, as the saying goes, each of them has come down with a case of the green-eyed gozongas.
Man U should be so sick of living in the long shadow cast by their crosstown rivals that they’d be relieved to see anyone, even Arsenal, win it. Our rivalry has cooled considerably since the intensity of the Wenger-Ferguson years. Still, should they see us manage to topple those titans, they’d have to confront the ugly truth that we’ve rebuilt on the fly, overhauling a squad in just three short years, while their rebuild has gone an interminably longer, spanning numerous managers and a vast amount of investment. The similarities between the two of us is enough for our potential success to make them wince, showing just how short their attempted imitation of us is still falling.
As for Chelsea, they’ve become a caricature of the Abramovich years in which massive spending allowed them to dominate us. All that Boehly is missing is the success that Abramovich bought. At least he’s managed the sacking of managers regardless of their success. To see us win the Prem with comparably modest investment under one novice manager would make a mockery of his little vanity project, exposing just how ridiculous his approach to building a squad has been during his short tenure. They have one last chance to dent our title-tilt when we go to Stamford Bridge, but even if they do, our path has shone a harsh, unflattering light on their cartoonish campaign
On to Liverpool. They’ve had the poor fortune of having one of their best spells at the same time that Man City have, forcing them to settle for just one Prem title when their might have seen them win four or five. Now that their blazing period of almost-glory seems to be fading, an ageing squad and a restless manager should be the most-eager to see anyone other than Man City win it all. We haven’t been proper rivals with them since the 1980s or 90s (by my reckoning, at least), but they’re still spitefully pining for Man City to pip us at the end. Maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome? Hard to say.
Oh, Tottenham. They’ve had the better of us for quite a few seasons now (can anyone remember the last St. Totteringham’s Day?), but all they have to show for it are a second-place Champions League finish (been there, done that) and three FA Cups. Oh. I’m sorry—those are our cups. Their trophy case is still bare, they’ve just sacked their manager, their director of football is serving a worldwide ban, and their squad needs a top-to-bottom overhaul. Truth be told, they probably should have sold Kane or at least Son last summer when they could still fetch a fat fee to finance that overhaul. If we win the Prem, heads might literally explode, making North London just a little redder.
With Newcastle, I get a sense that they’re biding their time, almost as pleased with their progress as we might be with ours. A top-four finish is probably more than they could have expected, just as winning the Prem is more than we could expect. No ill will there…but next season might be a different story after they spent a more buckets full of entirely clean, not-at-all filthy or stained money bolstering their squad in the summer.
As for me, I’m not a spiteful person. Honest. However, the idea that so many of our rivals’ fans can’t seem to swallow enough pride to see that denying Man City the title is good for everyone, not just us, does arouse something in me that resembles spite. We’ve shown that you can build a competitive squad by developing young talent and investing shrewdly in the transfer market. You don’t have to have the World’s Best Manager and so much world-class talent that your bench could probably finish in the top four. I guess we have no choice but to cause the scales to fall from their eyes.
If you’re still here (this was a longer post, after all), you can enter a raffle for a £25 Arsenal Direct gift card by commenting on this and other posts in April. Yes, it’s a direct attempt at bribing you to join the conversation. The more often you comment, the better your chances at winning. Have at it!