Pep’s Gang and the Other Fledglings: The Footy Power Games
In the pulsating, never-ending soap opera of English football, Manchester City, or should I say “Man City” for the purposes of our all-important SEO chums, have established themselves as the undisputed alpha wolves. Meanwhile, the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal, and some other jolly good clubs such as Liverpool are left licking their wounds and playing catch up.
Mikel Arteta, the artist-in-chief at Arsenal, is left staring into the void, reminiscing the moments that slipped through their fingers like sand, the tantalising “ifs” and “buts” that could’ve seen them scaling the lofty heights.
Just imagine, a single season peppered with pivotal moments that saw Arsenal morphing from a promising prodigy into a “could have been”. They had their eyes set on the coveted Premier League title, the first in 19 years, a potentially record-equalling 100 points. Alas, they crumbled under the formidable might of Man City.
But the truth, as Oliver Kay from The Athletic rightly reports, is not just about these standalone moments of heartache for Arsenal. There’s a bigger beast at play.
Step into the awe-inspiring world of Man City, a team backed by obscene moneybags, talented footballers who’d give Usain Bolt a run for his money, and at the helm, a man who’s half genius, half madman, and full Pep Guardiola. Their audacious might even put Real Madrid, the pride of Spain, to shame, as evidenced in the Champions League semi-final second leg.
Despite the constant buzz and criticism around their so-called “sportswashing”, accused by Amnesty International, City has managed to carve a legacy of their own, focusing not just on financial muscle but pure sporting mastery.
For the Premier League rivals and the so-called “Big Six”, Man City is more formidable than climbing Everest in flip flops. Sure, Arsenal showed signs of promise this season, bridging the point gap with City. But, it’s still a long road to glory.
The likes of Man Utd, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur are left gasping for breath, lacking the ammo and the pizzazz to break the magic 90-point barrier.
To be in the same league as City, clubs must switch gears. Man Utd needs to fix their scoring drought faster than you can say ‘Pogba’. Chelsea must get up from their stupor of underperformance and hit the road to redemption. Arsenal, with their attacking flair and a young brigade led by Arteta, has shown sparks of brilliance, but maintaining the rhythm will be a test of their mettle.
The mental gymnastics of taking on City is another ball game altogether. As Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s main man, often blabbers about the psychological muscle his team flexes during face-offs with City. But when the chips were down this season, Liverpool’s much-hyped mental fortitude proved to be their Achilles heel.
The Sisyphean Task: Dethroning Man City
Bringing down Man City is more challenging than trying to outpace a Ferrari on a bicycle. Sure, we’ve seen Liverpool and Man Utd reigning supreme in their heydays, but City’s dominance, while not as extreme as Bayern Munich’s, shows no sign of letting up.
Clubs may cry for sanctions on City, but all that’s just wishful thinking. Man City is here to stay. Liverpool, Arsenal, Man Utd, and even the new rich kids on the block, Newcastle United, may have the spark, but lighting the fire will be an uphill battle.
Man City’s dominance is like a monstrous mountain that few can scale. Arsenal’s progress, Liverpool’s potential resurrection, Man Utd’s ownership circus, and the uncertain future of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, and Newcastle might pose some hiccups to City. But history tells us, fighting City’s reign is a Herculean task, needing unflinching dedication and a dash of madness.
The PL and FA knew all about the way City would operate once they were taken over by a rather unpleasant state. They have now got to accept that their wonderful ‘product’ is not a competitive league with only the occasional challenge to the hegemony of City. How long will it be until people start ditching their tv football subscriptions because the league is a forgone conclusion? I guess attendances at games could also slip as what is the real point of watching City and their state run team winning and winning. Football used to see cycles of dominance but they came to an end and new teams prospered. As long as City are propped up by a corrupt state and those in charge don’t act, the PL can just drop the L as it’s an uncompetitive parade.