For a long time now I have not really cared about the top 4.
Yes, I understand the money involved in making (or not making) it, and that some of our financial restrictions at the moment are due to a £30million black hole where the Champions League television money used to be, but I really do not care.
Finishing 4th and trophyless is a nothing season. We did it for it for 8 years between 2006 and 2013. Not winning a trophy each year hurt. It was boring. Top 4 is not a trophy.
It is interesting how things have changed since that barren run for Arsenal.
We were rightly criticised for treating top 4 like a trophy. For celebrating it as one, whilst not actually winning any real trophies. Role forward 5 years from the end of that trophy drought and we see the media treating top 4 very differently.
The likes of Tottenham and Liverpool are now heavily praised for finishing top 4, without a trophy. It has become a barometer of success. Something to strive for.
Since Arsenal’s trophy drought began (2006), the pair have won 2 League Cups between them. Yet that is ignored in the press and their top 4 places are celebrated.
Give me a trophy, whether it is the League Cup, FA Cup or Europa League, over finishing top 4 any day of the week.
And tomorrow we have a chance to progress in the FA Cup against Manchester United.
With the race for top 4 hotting up – 7 points separate 3rd and 6th, it would be easy for Unai Emery to rotate the squad tomorrow and play a B team. He has refrain from doing so an put out the strongest team possible. Progression is key.
We do not play another game until Tuesday, that is a 3 day rest. We play Cardiff at home.
Whilst no games in the Premier League are a “gimmy”, a game at home to Cardiff who have won just once away in the league all season is a much easier fixture than Manchester United in the FA Cup.
If needs be, against Cardiff, rest a couple of players. But do not do it in the FA Cup.
In other news, the “will he won’t he” transfer saga of Denis Suarez rumbles on. Will he sign? Won’t he sign? Do I care?
We also had some glorious clickbait journalism yesterday:
Both articles were about Emiliano Martinez joining Reading on loan for the rest of the season…
Enjoy your Thursday and Up The Arsenal.