Arsenal

Man City’s 115 FFP charges could change everything for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta as Liverpool watch on

Arsenal news as second title race with Manchester City raises enormous questions for financial fair play and possible punishments

If the era of Jurgen Klopp against Pep Guardiola is coming to a close, then Mikel Arteta is waiting in the wings to take over. His Arsenal side picked up the mantle last year in challenging Manchester City for the Premier League title, and there’s no sign of them slowing down now either as Liverpool return to make it a three-horse race.

Unlike managerial rivalries of the past, there is no hatred involved here on any side. Arteta respects Guardiola for the job he has done as a coach across his career, including the preparation for his own career as a manager. Klopp mirrors this mutual love too

As the levels crank up, the tactics go a step further, athletes get quicker, stronger, and more nimble, and the fast twitch fibres spring to life with that much added sharpness. There is an element of not being able to split the best from the best anymore. The lines are just too blurred. Arsenal realised this last season as they pushed the most dominant force of English football (perhaps ever) to the wire.

What was this young, inexperienced side, founded not on mammoth transfer fees but on elite coaching, trust, growth and time, meant to do against a club constructed by state ownership over nearly 15 years? Arsenal may have crumbled, but they only did so under the most intense pressure, perhaps the sort of ramped-up expectations and demands that only Liverpool have faced in their own assault on the league. It was no sign of weakness, really.

But as the Premier League games become more controlled, there is an unsaid element at play that slips into the background. The game is moving towards courtrooms, paperwork, financial spreadsheets, lawyers, and appeals. If the 2010s were a decade of tiki-taka, then the 2020s are destined to be tit-for-tat counter briefs, asserting the best cases for and against the latest monetary rules. If we’re going down, then you’re all coming with us.

It’s a shame that such high-quality play has to take a back seat at the crux of the season. There are now questions being asked of four of the 20 top-flight sides from a financial perspective. One Championship side is already in trouble should they come up; they will remain in trouble if they don’t.

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Arsenal and Manchester City managers Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola
The Arsenal and Manchester City is still just getting going (Image: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)
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If the era of Jurgen Klopp against Pep Guardiola is coming to a close, then Mikel Arteta is waiting in the wings to take over. His Arsenal side picked up the mantle last year in challenging Manchester City for the Premier League title, and there’s no sign of them slowing down now either as Liverpool return to make it a three-horse race.

Unlike managerial rivalries of the past, there is no hatred involved here on any side. Arteta respects Guardiola for the job he has done as a coach across his career, including the preparation for his own career as a manager. Klopp mirrors this mutual love too.

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As the levels crank up, the tactics go a step further, athletes get quicker, stronger, and more nimble, and the fast twitch fibres spring to life with that much added sharpness. There is an element of not being able to split the best from the best anymore. The lines are just too blurred. Arsenal realised this last season as they pushed the most dominant force of English football (perhaps ever) to the wire.

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What was this young, inexperienced side, founded not on mammoth transfer fees but on elite coaching, trust, growth and time, meant to do against a club constructed by state ownership over nearly 15 years? Arsenal may have crumbled, but they only did so under the most intense pressure, perhaps the sort of ramped-up expectations and demands that only Liverpool have faced in their own assault on the league. It was no sign of weakness, really.

 

But as the Premier League games become more controlled, there is an unsaid element at play that slips into the background. The game is moving towards courtrooms, paperwork, financial spreadsheets, lawyers, and appeals. If the 2010s were a decade of tiki-taka, then the 2020s are destined to be tit-for-tat counter briefs, asserting the best cases for and against the latest monetary rules. If we’re going down, then you’re all coming with us.

It’s a shame that such high-quality play has to take a back seat at the crux of the season. There are now questions being asked of four of the 20 top-flight sides from a financial perspective. One Championship side is already in trouble should they come up; they will remain in trouble if they don’t.

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This year could end with the table after 38 games not being the final form. In several seasons, there could be further changes to the current standings with retrospective punishment. Nobody is safe from the clutches of profitability and sustainability rules (PSRs).

Ultimately, it is not how anyone wants the game to be run, but even worse, it would be if it came to light that any team had gotten away with breaking regulations that others adhered to. The lesser of two evils, possibly. The devil’s biggest trick, after all, was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

For much of the past decade, this hasn’t impacted Arsenal too much; it has been their outsider status in the battles to win the league, but now it is relevant once more. Over 12 months ago, Manchester City were charged with 115 breaches of financial rules across a period that saw them win their first three Premier Leagues. The outcome remains foggy, but the possible effects of the crime continue to have an effect.

Not only does this relate to possible overspending – though it is different to the cases of Everton and Nottingham Forest as well as a look into Chelsea’s potentially murky past – but also the underlying way that the Sky Blues were able to form the most efficient footballing structure seen for some time (again, possibly ever). Innocent until proven guilty, sure, and City strongly deny their wrongdoing, but the frustration is growing. The impact awaits.

Everton will point to their own sanctions coming – as well as an appeal and second set of charges – before any true progress has been made to determine City’s outcome. Forest will likely say the same. Arsenal and Liverpool have their own grounds to be angry about.

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