Champions League – We’re Having a Laugh
We have been living on borrowed time. From the last season at Highbury, when it took a dramatic final day victory over Wigan, plus a dose of lasagne to ensure we pipped Spurs for the 4th Champions League spot, we have been walking a tight-rope.
This season we have not shown the conviction of a team destined for Champions League qualification, never mind challenging for the title.
This season we have come across a resurgent Liverpool, a determined Chelsea and Manchester United to block our path to the title, whilst Aston Villa have been gradually building a squad to compete. Aston Villa have mastered the knack of grinding out results. They have overtaken us and do not look like they will relinquish the fourth qualification spot without a fight.
We find ourselves five points behind Aston Villa, there are fifteen games to go, but Aston Villa will not just lie down and let us take our rightful place in the Champions League without a fight. We will need to fight for that right and start to grind out results.
But we cannot just rest on our 5th place laurels. Lurking behind us are Everton, five points away and even a UEFA Cup (Europa Cup next season) place is no longer guaranteed.
A season out of the Champions League will be a financial and footballing disaster
Financially the club will miss out on £12m – £20m, no matter what the club says the budget does not include Champions League football. Without Champions League football the vultures will be hovering over the likes of van Persie, Fabregas and Adebayor.
If Wenger found it hard to attract players with our present pay structure, then reduce the pay levels and then remove Champions League football and it will be near impossibility to attract the top players.
Our reaction to failure to qualify for Champions League football will determine once and for all what sort of club we are. When Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AC Milan they went out and recruited top players, money was no object. If we decide to go out buy big in the summer, then we an ambitious club, if we do not and say we have a limited budget, then we are a club with a big stadium but a club going nowhere with a petty board who are more interested in their own wealth than the future success of the club.
Champions League is a necessity for Arsenal Football Club to survive, we are in a real fight for a Champions League spot.