Manchester City defeat a reminder that we are still at the beginning of our journey

Arsenal have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.

Even when we were bookies had has odds-on, we never felt we were favourites. It was always going to come down to the first head to head between the two.

Finishing 2nd behind Man City should not be seen by a failure.

Opposing fans will put up imagies of a league table when we were 8 points clear, but at that point we were about 15 games in, they had a game in hand and we were still to play each other twice. 24 hours later, that lead was cut to 5 as they won.

Man City are simply a better, stronger, more developed squad than us. And that should not be a surprise.

They have been financially dopping for decades, leading the Premier League a merry dance with their creative accounting.

Being state funded has meant they have been able to spend huge amounts on players – and it is not just the transfer fees but also the salaries and agents fees.

Their official wage bill is twice the size of Arsenal’s. And you have to wonder how much more is paid into offshore accounts set up for the players.

It is a simple equation – the more you are paying for players, the better they probably are. And that was shown last night.

Whilst Arsenal looked shattered and really suffered from having a few key players out, Man City looked fresh. And a lot of this is due to their squad depth.

Take Riyad Mahrez.

He started just 4 league games for City prior to the World Cup. Since Qatar has has started nearly every game and is the Premier League’s most inform player.

Such is Pep’s squad depth, he can leave a player out for half a season knowing that will enable him to have a huge impact in the second half of the season.

The starting XI Arsenal had out on Wednesday cost us £210million. Manchester City had over £300m worth of talent that did not start last night.

Now this is where some of you will say “this is why we keep demanding the Kroenke’s to spend or sell the club”. The answer to that is simple – look at the charges Man City are facing.

Arsenal are a well run, self sufficient side. We do what we can with what we have, and push for a superstar when we need one.

Do we really want us to go on a Chelsea Supermarket Sweep? Spending £300m in a winter window on players none of us had heard of 6 months previous? Potentially mortaging our future for a quick fix? No.

Likewise, we do not have the finances to accomodate 4 central defenders that all cost £50m+. No one in the Premier League does. Bar Manchester City.

Liverpool competed for City for years. Jurgen Klopp had built a fantastic starting XI. But when push came to shove they did not have the squad depth and City would eventually come out on top.

We are not so different to Liverpool. A fantastic XI, but a few injuries to key players and we struggle. Man City, meanwhile, could put out 7 or 8 different players at the weekend and it would their team would still have cost them £500m and every player be on over £100k a week.

City are simply a financial beast, and the fact that we have lead them for half of the season shows the strides forward we have taken.

It also has to be remembered the age profile of City.

There average age is 26.2, ours just 24.2. They have also been in numerous title challenges, whilst for many of our players this is the first.

We keep doing what we are doing and in 2 years our squad will naturally be better as they age, as they gain more experience.

This is not me saying “we have to wait another two-years to compete” but more “this is our first year of competing.

2017/18 was the first year Klopp had the likes of Salah, Mane, van Dijk together. They finished 4th. The next season they finished 2nd. And then they won it.

You can not be too disappointed in Arsenal, in Mikel Arteta, for going from 8th to 2nd within 12 months.

And this is not me raising the white flag.

We might be 2nd (on goal difference) but the title is still in our hands.

We still have a game in hand. We will still win the league if we win every game despite what City do. We now need to start again.

And that starts tomorrow against Aston Villa.



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