The last few days posts have thrown up some interesting debating points about the current squad and how we feel about it. It has allowed us all to express our preferences for certain players and line ups, and where we may need to strengthen and with whom.
I have often indicated that I am not sure that we are quite as far forward as we could be, and also for where I think we should be looking to be. The many positives of being top of the league, being the best team (points wise) in 2015, and having some truly world class players at THOF e.t.c, have been slightly offset by some dis-jointed un-Arsenal like performances.
This is why in my opinion we are currently positioned somewhere near the top end of the second tier in world football. It is perhaps easier to say European football, because although there are some fine teams emanating from other areas of the globe, most notably South America, the powerhouses of world football are in Europe.
So what constitutes the first tier? For me that includes Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and….err….that’s it IMO. So only 3 teams truly stand ahead of us. We are probably joined at the top end of the second tier by 2-3 of the other big EPL sides (despite a dodgy period for some), and the likes of PSG, Athletico, and Juventus. Dortmund and the Milans could also be strongly considered.
Until recently, due mostly to financial restrictions, I feel we have remained in the second tier but have been more mid second tier. Staying there at all was quite a feat in the circumstances and was down to Wenger’s excellent job at keeping us near the top during those austere years. Similarly I feel we have also been in the first tier in the past, when the likes of Vieira, Henry and Dennis roamed the pitches in red and white, but we are not there now. Only 3 teams are, but we are also not far away in my opinion.
I feel we are on a precipice currently, sitting at the top of that second tier with the mid second tier down the slope behind us and the first tier just over the top of the precipice. Do we sit down and stay where we are, or could an unforeseen mini land-slide cause us to slip back down if we do this, or should we push on over the precipice and march on into the first tier?
How then do we do this and what could stop us doing this?
It is not all about just buying “x” amount of players for “x” amount of money, although purchases will very likely be required to move on. Sometimes it is also about recognising what we already have and using it effectively and in the right way, but I am not always sure that we do this.
In my mind I have a litmus test that I always use. I am not saying it is foolproof but it centres on looking at the 3 teams in the first tier, because they are there for a reason and we likely need to match what they currently do to join them at the top table. I call it the BayernBarcaReal test.
Essentially it involves going through each position in our team and asking the question “would that player currently get into any of those 3 teams?”. I would tend be assessing this as 1st choice players only or your personal favoured 1st 11. The answer may be no for some players but they then could be an excellent choice as a back up or squad player, which all top teams need anyway. Sometimes, with certain players, the question is not so much would they get into that team but would they get into the team in that particular position?
What do you all think, a good way of looking at it or not? Even if not, indulge me and do the litmus test and tell me your results.