It's the big game this weekend. Two giants of the English game go head-to-head in a match that could determine the destination of this year's title and means so much to both sets of fans. No, I'm not talking about Liverpool v Manchester United. Frankly I don't care much what happens in that game, though it will make me smile knowing that United lost.
For me, the only game of the weekend is at the Etihad as Manchester City host Arsenal - the game between the champions and probable contenders.
Just for the record, Arsenal have been the most
successful team against City in recent times. Out of the past 30
games played, we have amassed 68 points with 21 wins and five draws.
Going into this game though, I think it's fair to say all we Gooners will
be happy with a draw. How did this happen? Money is the easy answer, but
wait there is a bit more to it as well.
Yes money has played the most
vital role in it, City with the Sheiks on board have transformed from being
the noisy neighbors to champions, and even though we hate to admit it we
have fed them well as well. Arsenal have sent or lost most of their
players to City and it's no coincidence. Money and ambition does play its
part, but the bigger picture is that while Arsenal consolidated their
position, City went overboard and jumped above all.
It is no coincidence
that after 2005 while Arsenal moved on to their new stadium and yet
continued their self-sustaining model, the likes of Chelsea initially
and now City took over Arsenal's position where it really mattered - in
the league table.
Arsenal's greatness has been able to sustain and not
capitulate in the burgeoning modern day football whereas City's success
is bred on the theory that what you don't have can always be bought for
the right price.
Would Arsenal have been still challenging for top
honours if they had not moved to a new stadium or had they not lost
their most important players for whatever reasons or if they had pumped
in money is an all together different question. A decision was taken by
the club and whether it was liked or not, it was the right one. Chelsea
and City capitalised and it may have left a bitter taste in the mouth, but that
would have still happened.
People say Arsenal had enough funds to go for a
player like say Javi Garcia, but does anyone really think we would have paid over the odds to get him at all costs? Unlikely, even if we wanted to. Would
we have got into a slug fest with City as if it was a bidding war and keep
raising stakes? No way. Not a chance. There needs to be a sense in the
insane world and proudly I say it is us who have it.
What has happened
is the transition did take its toll on the Gunners, not by their league
position only but also because suddenly they weren't the "lucrative"
option any more. In comparison City suddenly appeared with bright
headlights to anyone with a bit of a name, who wanted to play
in a team of stars and insane weekly wages.
Arsenal were never the team
for the superstars, but they were the most attractive to play for.
To be fair on City, it has not just been spending insane money, it's
been a project which has started paying dividends now. Initially it was
like hit and grab whereas now it is more meticulous. The result is that City have assembled a "team" rather than 11 superstars.
As Arsenal play City on Sunday, it shows the
changing times in football and in life. City represent the the amalgamation
of power and money and ruthlessness to succeed on all counts, whereas
Arsenal represent the old school of principles, ideologies and charm and
Don't get me wrong at the end of the day both teams play for the same
reason - to win at all cost, means maybe different. City have chosen
their path and Arsenal did so as well. Are City wrong and are Arsenal
right? No. Each one will say we are right. At the end of the day, ask a
supporter. He will say go and win the damn game mate we can talk about
Last but not least to all city fans - You can buy anything you want but you cannot buy class. You see that my friend is permanent.
Article by Vinay McClaren
Calling all Arsenal fans: Do you agree with Vinay's assessment? Whatever your view we'd love to hear from you.
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