As much as the end to the current season could be extremely exciting and successful for Arsenal, they are still not quite where they used to be as a club. There was a time, of course, when they were unbeatable. There was a time when it was only the Gunners and Manchester United fighting it out for the league title.
So, what has happened in the last few years which has prevented Arsenal being one of the ‘big two’? For eight seasons in a row, Arsenal finished no lower than second in the Premier League. This was until the last three when their final positions have been 4th, 4th and 3rd.
One way to see just how far away Arsenal are from being Manchester United’s main challengers again could be to see how the individual players compare. How does Arsenal’s full strength team match up to the best team the Champions can put out?
This is something I would like your opinion on, so without too much analysis, let’s take a look at my views:
Edwin Van der Sar v Manuel Almunia – Has to be Van der Sar unfortunately.
Gary Neville v Bakari Sagna – Personally, I’d rather have Sagna in my team.
Patrice Evra v Gael Clichy – For consistency purposes, it has to be Evra.
Rio Ferdinand v William Gallas – This is a close one, but I think the odds would be in favour of Ferdinand.
Nemanja Vidic v Kolo Toure – For similar reasons that Evra won, Vidic is the winner.
Cristiano Ronaldo v Theo Walcott – For what he has achieved in the last couple of years, it’s going to be Ronaldo.Ask me again this time next year though.
Ryan Giggs v Andrei Arshavin – Giggs is still a decent player, but for creativity and variation the Russian wins this one for me.
Michael Carrick v Cesc Fabregas – No competition, Fabregas all the way.
Paul Scholes v Denilson – A number of players could fill this position for Arsenal and all of them will be as good as/better than Scholes at some point, but for now, the former England man has to get the nod.
Wayne Rooney v Robin van Persie – For me, this is the closest one of the lot. In fact, I can’t choose between them. This one is a draw.
Dimitar Berbatov v Emmanuel Adebayor – Neither have been fantastic this season. However, the Manchester United man (and Carlos Tevez) has produced the goods more often.
The end result for this ‘experiment’ is Manchester United 7.5 v 3.5 Arsenal. Whether this means much, I’m not sure. However, it does suggest that Arsenal are just two or three established high quality players short of challenging for the Premier League again.
This could happen in the next couple of years when the likes of Walcott, Clichy and Denilson really kick on as players – you never know. It certainly makes a change from the days of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires, or Tony Adams and Ian Wright and co when Arsenal would have been much closer to Manchester United in this type of analysis.
Something to think about isn’t it? Let me know your thoughts.
By Thomas Rooney