During the Huddersfield v Manchester City game, the conversation turned to how brilliant the Manchester City side was.
That with 12 games gone, they have won 11, drawn 1, scoring 42 and conceding just 8. Their goal difference is already +34 and they are 8 points clear at the top. Only an idiot would not say they are not an awesome team.
The conversation soon moved on to Arsenal this season.
Now we all want to compete for league titles. To compete should be a minimum requirement – although I would also argue that to win is a minimum requirement. But with City in such great form, and looking to break all sorts of records (they are on a 21 game unbeaten run in the league, losing just 2 league games this calendar year), would it really be a failure to finish below them?
To a man, we all agreed no. That if City get 90+ points, it would have taken a herculean effort to finish above them. An impossible effort infact.
Since we last won the Premier League – back in 2004 – no side has ever gained more than 90 points and not won the league. 4 times in 13 seasons, sides have breached the 90 point mark and secured the title. You can easily argue that 90+ points guarantees you the title.
Lowering the barrier by a single win – so 87 points, only once has a team got above 87 points and failed to win the league – Manchester United in 2011/12 when they finished level on points with Manchester City.
Again, you could argue that 87 points will almost guarantee you the title.
In the last 13 seasons, the league has been won by 87+ points 9 times. In each of these seasons, it would have been near impossible, based on recent history, for Arsenal to have gained more points and gone on to win the title.
In those 9 seasons, it would not have been a poor season to finish second. The best team one and, in the majority of the cases, won by a distance. Finishing second would be nothing to be ashamed of in those season, we all agreed.
But then I asked the question; Why never Arsenal? Why do we always sit there and say Well done Manchester City / Chelsea / Manchester United. Great teams, would have been impossible to catch you anyone.
Why can we not expect Arsenal to ever get 87+ points?
It is easy to praise others, to say well done, to agree that finishing above Manchester City if they get 87+ points this season would be impossible.
Just like no-one was ever going to finish above Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in the 2004/05 (91 points) and 2005/06 seasons (95 points), or Manchester United in 2012/13 (89 points – won the league by 11) and 2008/09 (90 points).
There have been 4 seasons since we won the league unbeaten in 2004 when the league was won by less than 87 points. So why then could Arsenal not have got 87+ in those seasons?
Why are we sitting around praising other teams mammoth points totals, instead of saying why can we not accrue a massive points total.
In Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal, we have breached the magical 87 point mark just twice. In 2001/02 and 2003/04.
Only twice since 2003/04 have we breached the 80 point mark – 2004/05 and 2007/08. No team has won the Premier League with less than 80 points since Manchester United in 1998/99.
Whilst other teams in the last 13 years have gone on to get mammoth points totals which would guarantee them the league, Arsenal have failed to get close.
On 4 occasions in that period, a team has won the league with less than 87 points. Twice sides have won the league with 80/81 points.
Why could Arsenal have not gone on in those seasons to be the side that gets 87 points?
Whilst you should give praise where it is due, and it is not a failure to finish second to a team getting 90+ points, it is a clear failure that Arsenal have not got anywhere near the points total required to be champions in the majority of the seasons since we last won a trophy.
Finishing 2nd to Manchester City this season will not be a failure. Finishing 2nd to Leicester City when they only won 81 points is a failure.
Only twice in those 13 years have we won more points than Leicester did in 2015/16.
So rather than praise a side for breaking records, as the question Why can it not be Arsenal that is breaking the records?
Why never Arsenal?
And we all know the answer…