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Why Arsenal and Man City Are Heading In Two Different Directions

arsenal man city2 Why Arsenal and Man City Are Heading In Two Different Directions

This past weekend saw the next chapter in the tales of two of the most historic clubs in English football. Manchester City took to the Premier League as one of the favorites for the league title and saw their latest new signing Kun Aguero sparkle whilst Arsenal failed to shine and have seen their best player leave. These really are two clubs on two different trajectories, and their stories tell us a lot about the modern game and where we may end up in a few years time.

It is no secret that I dislike the amount of money in the game today. I believe that football is in danger of completely losing its soul if it carries on in the way that it has done over the past decade. The contrasting tales of City and Arsenal illustrate the problem. Arsenal have run themselves well, investing in youth and refusing to pay over the odds for players. Because of this they have been overtaken by City and Chelsea who have both been injected with huge amounts of cash. I love the term financial doping because money is the best performance-enhancing drug a football club can ever take.

Whilst the ups and downs of clubs are to be expected and indeed celebrated, the glory of football is found in its unpredictability. Money makes the game predictable. We all knew before the season started that Arsenal are on their way down and that City are close to the summit. We knew this because there is only one way to get to that summit, by spending. City are not expected to challenge for the title this year as a result of many years of stable management and long term preparation. They are destined to challenge because they have spent over £300 million in three years.

And the truly horrible side of this tale? That the Arsenal fans are turning on Wenger. We have become so used to seeing instant success, so used to seeing teams spend big money at the slightest sign of trouble that when a manager tries to do things correctly, sustainably, then he is treated as if he does not know what he is doing. Meanwhile Roberto Mancini will be showered in praise should City win the league and while I do not wish to lessen the importance of the Italian at City, having the money doesn’t half help build a title challenge.

What happens next to Arsenal is far more important than the next 12 months for City. If Wenger can somehow pull of another season where Arsenal challenge on multiple fronts, if he can keep them in the top four and do well in the cups, it will be good for football’s future. The financial fair play rules will hit soon and if clubs can still compete without over spending then there is hope for some levelling of the field. If Arsenal slide away I fear that we will soon be left with an ever decreasing pool of teams capable of winning trophies. And that really will be the death of football.

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59 Responses to Why Arsenal and Man City Are Heading In Two Different Directions

  1. bluemoon70 says:

    …just like the dominance of only two teams in Spanish Football for decades, has destroyed football in that country.

    Get over it.

    • Steve says:

      I believe that was his point.

      • bluemoon70 says:

        The country that dominates not only club competitions but also national competitions, at the moment? How does that prove his point?

        IMO, it does the opposite. Rich, dominant teams are GOOD for football. I’m an American. I wasn’t drawn to world football (soccer) because of Stoke City and Villareal. It was the Real Madrid’s, Chelsea’s, Man United’s, Barcelona’s…that got me interested in the first place.

  2. Erich says:

    Oddly enough, the starting XI for Manchester United cost more than City’s starting XI, but everyone fails to mention that…

    • Evan says:

      Yeah.
      United’s starting XI against West Brom cost 5.8 Million more than City’s starting XI against City.

      Kind of a joke that the media and pretty much everyone else is singling out City.

    • Jeff says:

      How much does the bench cost relative to Manchester United?

    • Eric says:

      Manchester United’s XI last week wasn’t an outcome of 300 millions pounds in 3 years. It was planned and calculated with long-term vision and money generated by the club’s commercial and football success, especially when compared to City.

      Did Manchester United not “invest” and develop a young Portuguese lad, then sold him for the largest transfer fee in modern football?

      Also, Manchester City has the highest wage bill and wage turnover in the PL.

      • Why? says:

        Manchester Utd are where the are now because of spending more than the others constantly untill recently and that’s a fact. Don’t all clubs ‘invest’ and develop young players?

        Also Mancheter City do not have the highest wage bill at all! Chelsea do. The City squad is much larger than Utd’s and utd have laid off many of the back room and admin staff to cut costs yet City’s wage bill is only £1.6m more than Utd how can this be? Stop making things up you Clown!

        • MNUfan1991 says:

          ” Stop making things up you Clown!”

          As the saying goes, “you can pay for school, but you can’t buy class.”

    • MNUfan1991 says:

      United is not even mentioned in this post, yet Berties keep bringing our team up.
      You know what, if you are so obsessed with United, why don’t you come join us?

      • Why? says:

        Moron your on every City post here now that’s obsession maybe your pissed off with signing half decent players while we are signing World class ones, who knows what your problem is? You are for ever giving out your jealous little bitter digs a City they’re for all to see. Man U since 1991 TYPICAL PLASTIC LOL.

        • MNUfan1991 says:

          “Moron [you are] on every City post….”

          Oh really? Prove it. Don’t forget to go all the way back to day 1 of EPLTalk. If I fail to comment on ONE single City post then your statement is bunk.

          My O&E insurance company gives us lectures every year on liability pitfalls. Topic #1: never use terms like “every” or “all” in any form of communication. You will do well to heed that advice.

          Oh, don’t forget to brush up your grammar while you are at it.

          • Why? says:

            ‘Oh really? Prove it. Don’t forget to go all the way back to day 1 of EPLTalk. If I fail to comment on ONE single City post then your statement is bunk.’
            How old are you 13? Why would I need to prove any thing to you? Do you think I want to play along with your child like behaviour? Why don‘t you talk about football instead of the childish remarks? You know why don’t you. It’s because you haven’t a clue about it.
            You are a fake plastic rag who even puts the year he started to watch Utd on the TV and funny enough it just happens to coincide with the beginning of their success. No doubt you were a Pool fan before that! Then again you may buy the odd shirt from Ebay every few years and have a real reasson for following them who knows.

            People like you with the constant bitter remarks but never any opinions are pathetic. At least you mate here had an opinion it’s just a shame that he just decided to make something up to try and suit his argument. He must be aware that some know the reality to be different. It doesn’t seem to bother either of you that their isn’t a grain of truth in what he said and why? Because of a new found hatred and jealousy of City and that‘s weirdly how you seem to think football is. I suppose you call that classy well I’ve got news for you, it most certainly is not. Just like the man who has nothing to come back with except childish remarks or ‘brush up your grammar’ while their own is a total mess! Even though you rarely write more than the odd sentence. Maybe you should have gone to more than just an insurance company lectures eh? Classic numpty!

  3. RVPFan says:

    While I agree with most of your analysis and find it to be interesting, I completely refuse to believe that Arsenal are on their way down. This is simply not true. While this is a difficult period for the club and it’s fans, Arsenal just last year until the late collapse were the only club contesting for all four titles. They still have quality players but there is absolutely no question, Wenger needs to strengthen the defensive side of things.

    Wilshere is emerging and so is Ramsey. They still have RVP at the top of things, and Walcott’s impact last game cannot be underestimated. Arsenal can still play possession football while the Man City and the rest can sit and break at opportune times. This suggests that the quality is definitely there at Arsenal for them to be at top 4 and contest for title.

    As Gary Neville said, supporters of the club are just impatient that they haven’t won anything, but with the infrastructure put in place, they will be title contenders for another 60 years. It really makes me sick when some of the club supporters, and not all, tend to just make this outlandish judgement and jump hastily into conclusion that Wenger should be and Arsenal will collapse. If Wenger goes, there is no-one that comes even close to bringing what he brings to the table. And no, Arsenal will not collapse but contend for title yet this year again. Winning is another thing ;)

  4. Joshua says:

    Enjoy your glory while it lasts city fans financial fair play is gonna hit your club like a freight train

    • Evan says:

      Have you been under a rock this summer? City’s deal with Etihad pretty much guarantees City won’t be affected by Fair Play rules.

      But I don’t want to crush your fantasy so you can keep believing what you want

    • R2Dad says:

      FFP has been touted as the great equalizer in football, but there is enough wiggle room in the provisions for the Man City deal to still go through. So, despite good intentions, no big clubs will be charged, no teams will be excluded, no points will be deducted. It gives UEFA the appearance of setting limits without actually having to set limits. Arsenal have been playing by the rules, but those rules are meaningless. Wenger, to his credit, has stuck to his guns. Unfortunately, fans are not content supporting a club because it’s cash flow positive. To stay relevant, Arsenal must spend. It gets a lot more expensive if you don’t qualify for CL play. Even if Wenger keeps the team involved in 4 title chases into the spring, another collapse due to inexperienced players or a shallow bench is not acceptable. Anyone can see that losing 2 top players and not replacing them, along with unaddressed weaknesses in defense, will not result in silverware. I can’t remember dreading any upcoming season like this one.

    • lewis says:

      yeah im pretty sure a certain £400 mil deal put paid to that don’t you ??, classic haters first it was we not gunna get champs league now we are init its we wont be able to financially compete….well i got news for u haters , we are able to compete , uefa have found no issues after nearly 2 months of ‘regulating’

  5. Mr.Prodg says:

    another garbage post.

    • canyid says:

      I can’t imagine visiting and re-visiting a website that has what I consider a series of garbage posts. It’s a big internet – go find something that meets your standards.

    • R2Dad says:

      Feel free to create your own free content–hopefully more thought-provoking than 3 words.

  6. Evan says:

    An Arsenal fan complaining about not winning anything and blaming the amount of money in football.
    That’s original.

  7. Mack says:

    Big Traditional clubs like Manchester United, and Liverpool FC have been doing the so called financial doping all along. God knows how many times ,before the coming of sugar daddies at Chelsea and ManCity, clubs like Manchester United have set new records on Transfer market in the context of its time and no one complained. Now that old clubs are blown away by these sugar daddies and basically there are new boys in town, everyone is complaining that money is running the football. In reality, the professional soccer is a business to make money and money talks first. Those big clubs are now having a taste of their own medicine!

  8. Daniel says:

    I DIDN’T EVEN READ THE POST, BUT HERE IS THE CLEAR ANSWER TO YOUR HEADLINE…. MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Why? says:

      It could have been the same headline but the other way round in any of the last 25 years except the last 3 funny how when this order is turned around and it’s City spending big instead of Arsenal etc, it seems to get on peoples nerves! Why is that? As the only reason they were above City in those years was….. MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Q says:

    Preach! Great post

  10. Joe says:

    I used to think money was ruining sports. Thanks for confirming that whining and complaining about money in sports is the real culprit.

  11. Taylor says:

    No, it’s not the death of football. It’s the new era of football. Things change over time. So clubs will have to adapt.

    With Wenger, the problem was not with money: it was his refusal to mold experienced players with young players.

    • canyid says:

      It’s a new era for the Premier League. Get out there and support your local clubs in the lower tiers of football.

  12. Andrew says:

    ManU & Liverpool have bought a lot of players, but they have also brought a lot of players through their youth ranks. Chelsea and City are the problems…Great it you’re a fan of a billion dollar club, but bad for the future of the game. And I am not a ManU fan, but there is a difference between building a dynasty and buying a title.

    City (and Chelsea), as Gigi Buffon remarked when City tried to buy him, are “fantasy football clubs” put together with petrodollars from two of the world’s richest men. An inevitable backlash is coming, hopefully the financial regulations and roster limits will help.

    If those prove to be worthless regulations easily circumvented, perhaps the EPL could learn a thing or two from U.S. professional leagues (usually it is vice-versa) and institute a salary cap or homegrown players clause.

    Not trying to rain on City’s parade, glad it is doing well these days, but a more level playing field would be nice. Otherwise, EPL begins to look like U.S. sports – one or two teams always dominate, and if an upstart ever wins, it’s because they buy (or more accurately rent) the title, as it’s not sustainable to keep paying players higher & higher salaries.

    Then again, maybe as a NUFC fan, I am just jealous…

    • Joe says:

      Beginning to look like US Sports? Are you joking? US Sports has an absurd amount of parity. Cleveland went from best record to worst in the NBA after losing one player. NJ Nets went to two finals and now can barely win 20 games. In the NFL, 50% of playoff teams did not make the playoffs the year before. Even in MLB, the Brewers are the hottest team in the league right now, and last year the Giants and Rangers were in the World Series after a decade of mediocrity. You either don’t really follow US sports or you’re delusional.

    • Joe says:

      The problem with EPL trying to institute a salary cap or any cost control measures is that every other league in Europe would need to be on board. If England did it alone, the talent would just go elsewhere for the money. So until there can be some sort of continent-wide decision on this (not likely), things will remain the way they are financially.

    • Why? says:

      SWP, Micheal Johnson, Ricards,Hart, Boyata, Weiss have not all of these and more play in Youth teams?

    • Guy says:

      I certainly am no expert on the subject, but I think some of our English readers have pointed out that under EU law a salary cap would be “unconstitutional” as would a homegrown players clause that would limit fair trade across the Union. The Premier League and FIFA can do absolutely nothing about this.

      Can anyone shed more light?

      • Why? says:

        No a salary cap could not be imposed not only because of Europe but football it now mainly about business. The Bosman ruling also helped pushed it a step more to this direction regarding the way footballers contracts are. They say football club can now become just a rich mans play thing I think this is way out as football was always a rich mans play thing for decades it’s now big business and that’s it. The chairmen were always local business men and fans of the club running it with pride and yes now and then maybe borrowing to much money but in the most they loved the club as much as the fans. Those days were gone with the start of the Premier league.

  13. dan says:

    the general theme is correct, but arsenal fans are so upset with wenger is that he does have money to spend and isn’t doing so. yes we can never competer with chelsea, man city and utd but we are falling behind liverpool by not spending the money we have. the club has been managed disasterously this summer, there is plenty of blame to go round from wenger to the board, who ultimately need to take responsibility as wenger in theory is working them and they should have NEVER allowd it to get to this point, where we literally have no squad anymore. sadly we are now a mid table team. doubt we will see any more than one or two signings, which will clearly not be enough to maintain top 4 status.

    • MG says:

      Many fans feel rock bottom should be hit in order to usher in a new era, much like Howe’s resignation in the late 80′s brought George Graham to the club and ushered in the Championship winning seasons of ’89 and ’91. And it was down to the board then. The club then were too good to get relegated, but too uninspired and flawed to win the league.. and that’s kind of how it is right now. There’s a terrible stasis going on at Arsenal FC, and it has been this way for six years and counting.

      I personally believe in Wenger and don’t think he should be sacked or resign during bad times.. He deserves better than that. I believe good times are coming our way, like Phoenix we will rise from the ashes.

  14. Karl Pilkington says:

    Unless Arsene makes big moves before the window closes (which he probably won’t because he is so convinced of his own genius) I think that Arsenal will pull a Liverpool this year.

    • MG says:

      “which he probably won’t because he is so convinced of his own genius”

      A terribly presumptuous comment from someone that has literally zero idea of what’s going on behind the scenes at Arsenal football club. Zero. No offense, but it’s the truth.

      • Karl Pilkington says:

        You are correct, but I feel it is a legitimate hypothesis backed by 6 trophy-less years for Arsene and the Gooners. It seems like before 2005 Arsene was comfortable buying the necessary players. Now he become so sure of himself that he thinks he can win every trophy only using bargain buys and kids from the youth system. I feel bad for the Gooners, they need a new manager and the board needs to be shooken up a little. Arsene is the only manager of a big club I can think of that is still with a job after so many seasons without silverware.

        • Thrasher says:

          i am coming from an american standpoint on this, however, manchester city went how long without a trophy? 39 years i think. that is much longer than 6 years of the gunners. i am a loyal arsenal supporter and i feel if you are a true fan then you should be able to trust wenger and accept that he knows what he is doing. thank you

  15. Jake says:

    We dont want wenger to spend 150m+ like city if it hurts our finances bad
    we want to
    1 get rid of deadwood
    and invest in areas where it is required
    you cant have a team with all youth players
    4-5 quality and experienced players
    so with youth and experience we can create a good team
    MANU kept Giggs for this year just to pass down some vital Trophy winning mentality to their younger squad

  16. Andy says:

    I am sorry that the “big 4″ are all upset because someone crashed the party and upset the apple cart. We all knew that Fabergas was on his way and Nasri would most likely follow (I bet there would have been no complaints had he ended up at the swamp) but Wenger has stuck his head in the sand and now Arsenal face getting knocked out of the champs league. If this happens it is not City’s fault nor is it Barca’s, it is Wenger’s fault and the Arsenal board.

  17. Fifthcolumnblue says:

    Erm, OK….

    Arsenal were pretty big spenders in the past, even into the Wenger era.

    The problem lies in Arsenal’s decision to quit Highbury and move to Ashburton Grove – the move to the new stadium placed a huge strain on the club’s finances and they have had to be fiscally prudent until they have paid off the majority of the stadium.

    However, once those debts are cleared, Arsenal will be rolling in it with the most expensive seats in the league being mostly full of corporate arses most of the time.

    In short, Arsenal CHOSE this strategy, ie short term pain for longer term gain, and whilst their planning is to be applauded, their lack of funds as a result is their own fault.

    I also believe there are several issues at Arsenal that make them continually reluctant to spend serious money:

    1) Their manager stubbornly refuses to buy established players (who cost more), believing he can develop all of the players he needs, either from within Arsenal’s ranks or by poaching them from other clubs’ academies. But for every Fabregas there also seems to be an almost slavish devotion on the manager’s part to utter dross like Eboue and Bendtner – Wenger simply refuses to admit that he’s mistaken about the useless players and hangs on to them to the detriment of the team.

    2) The main shareholders at Arsenal are rivals (Kroenke and Usmanov) which only serves to dilute any coherent strategy coming from board level. I’m sure Wenger wanted new players this summer, particularly as he knew Fabregas was almost certain to leave, and Nasri always likely, but Arsenal do not appear to have any direction from above. At City, Mancini identifies the targets and Cook and Marwood go out and do the leg work. I don’t know the minutiae of how Arsenal works, but they don’t appear to have any go-to guys for conducting their business, and haven’t really had any since Dein left.

    3) The Arsenal board are reasonably happy with the status quo. The shareholders will get paid season after seaso0n after season provided the manager magics up qualification for the champions league via a decent league position. It quite probably doesn’t really matter to many of them whether the team actually win any of the competitions, just so long as the money from qualification and the resulting exposure keeps flowing in – there is no reason whatsoever for them to sanction any big spending (even though they can more than adequately afford a “marquee” signing or two) to take them to the next level as spending money on players means less goes out in dividends to the shareholders, ie themselves.

    There is no reason whatsoever to pity a club that is ranked by Deloitte as the 5th biggest by revenue in global football, with an annual turnover of approximately £275m (almost twice the annual revenue of Manchester City) – the bed they are lying in is entirely of their own making.

    • Taylor says:

      This is spot on. The move from Highbury to Emirates caused (and still causes) some financial constraints to the club.
      The team that was unbeaten was extremely costly to maintain.
      And yes: Arsenal was a big spender, even during Wenger’s era.

    • Garrison says:

      “The main shareholders at Arsenal are rivals (Kroenke and Usmanov) which only serves to dilute any coherent strategy coming from board level. I’m sure Wenger wanted new players this summer, particularly as he knew Fabregas was almost certain to leave, and Nasri always likely, but Arsenal do not appear to have any direction from above. At City, Mancini identifies the targets and Cook and Marwood go out and do the leg work. I don’t know the minutiae of how Arsenal works, but they don’t appear to have any go-to guys for conducting their business, and haven’t really had any since Dein left.”

      Interesting point. Would you suggest the return of Dein?

  18. kash says:

    Surprises me how anyone can criticise AW, the guy has worked miracles at Arsenal. Fact is he is powerless when it comes to players like Nasri leaving. Arsenal offered him 90,000 a week city are giving him double, yes he is saying I am leaving to win trophies. If that was the case he could have gone to united. How can anyone criticise Wenger just because he doesn’t spend a lot. Wenger gets great value for money from a player, think about the amount of players in recent seasons that have come and gone from city and chelsea who they forked out millions for and who are sat on benches or can’t even make the squad. Trophyless maybe but Arsenal have gone from one stadium to another increased they revenue massivly and still been competitive, once the fair play rules and the loan for the emirates is payed off Arsenal will be top dogs again ! We just need to be patient.

  19. PaulfromMiami says:

    money is destroying football’s soul…wah wah wah… get off your high horse. Money has always been around football. It’s just that football’s profile has risen which has increased revenue. THus there is money to spend.

    Barcelona plays beautiful attacking football, they have spent a lot of money.
    Real same thing
    Man United’s XI cost more than City’s
    Arsenal has one of the highest wage bill in football. So i dont see why you are trying to use Arsenal as a good example

  20. Thomas says:

    Man United have always had huge spending power against their rivals. Now the Prem has 3 big spenders.

    There’s no coincidence that the moment Chelsea started spending big and winning (right around 2005), Arsenal went on quite the trophy drought.

    They went from the #2 team to #3, and now, with City’s ascent they are going to be battling Liverpool and Spurs for a 4th.

  21. gargoyle says:

    Is football dominated by the “big clubs” any more today than it always has been? Hasn’t the recent cash infusions to clubs like Chelsea and Man City made thge Prem more competitive and interesting to watch week in week out? I say let teams spend as much as they want – and I’m an Arsenal fan.

  22. Dee says:

    Interesting read haha, from a neutral point of few.. just to point out to a few people above, i think what some people were trying to say here is that united had worked for the money they spent, while city is like those brats in my sweet 16

  23. robert says:

    wenger’s going to be at PSG next season because all the loudest idiots want is trophies that now cost unsustainable millions.

  24. Ed says:

    I think Arsenal fans have every right to turn on Wenger. There is a difference between spending and overspending. Last season, with a little more than a month to go, Arsenal was still in the running for the league title, the FA Cup, the Carling Cup and the Champions League. Yet they came away with none of those titles. The Gunners are not far away from being a title-winning team. All it would take is the proper player – a scoring striker and a center half who can play without getting hurt.

    Arsenal have lost Fabregas for a reported £34 million pounds. Nasri is rumored to be headed out for an additional £20mil. Those two alone are over £54mil in revenue to Arsenal. If you include the sale of Clichy and the proposed sale of Bentner and Arshavin, the team will likely have more than £70 million to spend. In return for losing two key playmakers and a few others, they had a legitimate shot to land Juan Mata from Valencia. Instead, Chelsea are getting him for £26m and because they are already stacked, he may likely end up as a bench player. If Arsenal had agreed to spend half their income from Nasri and Fabregas, they would have landed a player who could make an immediate impact and help the team. But they chose not to. Instead, they are looking at some free transfers and signing role players like Carl Jenkinson (£1 mil), Ryo Miyaichi (free) and Joel Campbell (£1m). Last year it was the same thing with guys like Marouanne Chamackh.

    It’s not like Arsenal fans are asking for the team to spend £60 after selling £50 mil in players. They just want to see ANY investment in a player who can help right away.

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