Our rivals want, no—need—Man City to win the Prem. Why?


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!

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16 thoughts on “Our rivals want, no—need—Man City to win the Prem. Why?

  1. Eoin ó Conchobhair

    brilliant. you mention Stockholm syndrome but only for Liverpool, I think it also explains Chelsea and Man U too. They’re so used to being dominated that they can’t imagine anyone else winning, it’s about time to snap them out of it!

  2. David Smith

    City fan here. I don’t know which UTD and Liverpool fans have been telling you they want us to win it over you but I think they are having you on there.
    Nice season though, I knew you’d be coming for us when you got Arteta, he is absolute superb. May the best team win, I’d much prefer to lose to AFC than the others.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Thanks for popping in. Always a pleasure to hear from a rival fan. I’ll admit my sample size is probably too low to be statistically valid — mostly what I’m coming across on Twitter and Reddit.

      Thanks also for the well wishes. This one does look like it’ll come down to the wire. Wouldn’t have it any other way; no such thing as a free lunch after all!

  3. SimonThe Spud

    Let me just deal with the ‘poor life decisions’ crack right at the start. Lazy, standard issue gooner-level spud baiting. Maybe you were just getting warmed up, but that’s no excuse. Please try harder. Now thta’s out of the way, there are one or two points I’d like to make. The first is to beware of getting ahead of yourself. You ain’t won nothin’ yet. Last weekend’s stumble at Anfield does not bode well, and you’ve yet to take on Manchequebook City on their own turf. (BTW – that Granit clown is worth the entrance fee alone. Is he named after a mineral because that’s all that’s inside his skull?) Moving on, I may be in a minority of one, but I actually agree that winning the title with a reasonable budget and a squad that didn’t come at the same price as the average space programme IS a good thing. Not least of all, ironically, for us good ‘ol Lillywhites. We generate similar levels of revenue and have similar budgets to spend on the squad. Scratch the surface of most spuds’ frustration at our lack of progress and you’ll soon discover a deep distrust of the enigma that is our chairman, Daniel Levy. If he were to acknowledge that he’s clueless when it comes to matters concerning what happens on the pitch, and take a leaf out of whatever book the Woolly Woolwich Wanderers are currently using, we may just end up with a rivalry worth the name. In all seriousness, it is important that the rich man’s plaything clubs get beaten, and you boys are currently our last best hope. DO NOT f**ck this up.
    PS: As for the ridiculous Chelsea scum, I’m thoroughly enjoying watching their retrogression under the aegis of the ridiculously vain Boehly. If it weren’t for that, there’d be no real reason for them to exist.

  4. Jon Shay Post author

    Sorry for the laziness to start. I always assume I’m only writing for fellow Gooners and sometimes guilty of playing to the cheap seats.

    Great insights to follow, though – I actually respect Tottenham for how competitive the club was despite the smaller capacity of White Hart Lane and see some parallels to when we were in late stage Wenger when financing a new stadium debt became an excuse not to spend. I suspect/worry you might have to put with a period of austerity and possibly a rebuild similar to what Arteta has overseen. Whether Levy will be willing to give your next manager the backing he’ll need is a pressing question indeed. Pochettino is unlikely to come back, knowing what he knows about levy. Avoiding impatient, petulant short-termers like Mourinho and Conte would be useful.

    1. SimonThe Spud

      You’re spot on with your comments about recent managers. Not sure that Levy would know what to do with a bigger budget if he had one, though.

      1. Jon Shay Post author

        Fair point. Under Wenger, it started to feel like he didn’t know what to do with buying bigger players. Alexis and Ozil were brilliant swoops (but only available as knock-ons after Barca got Suarez and RM snatched Bale). After those, his record was mixed at best – Xhaka, Mustafi, Welbeck, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette, etc. Years of refusing to spend seemed to make him a foolish spender once he could (or chose to) loosen the purse strings.

        1. consolsbob

          Sorry, he is a spud. Mutual antagonism is ingrained. He may seem reasonable but is, by definition, delusional. If you can’t detest them, best to ignore.

          1. Jon Shay Post author

            I always enjoy a healthy exchange of ideas. This particular Spud seemed, as you say, reasonable, but it’s best to tolerate them as one might do a mosquito.

                  1. Jon Shay Post author

                    Simon, if you keep commenting, you just might win this £25 Arsenal Direct gift card. I don’t know what would be the more amusing- the Gooner having to reward the Spud or the Spud having to buy Arsenal merch. I suppose if you win, I’d have to go over to the Spurs site to get the gift card there…

          2. Jax

            I’ve spent more time at WHL than I care to admit to, and not always as an Arsenal supporter, and can assure you that on the whole they’re a not too bad bunch of fans if you don’t patronise, antagonise or be a complete prat to. Ours are the same believe it or not.

            1. Jon Shay Post author

              I’m sure their fanbase is pretty similar to that of most clubs – a large majority are normal, regular people, and a small (very vocal) minority are utter bellends.


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