With Manchester City falling to Chelsea yesterday, Liverpool were confirmed Premier League Champions. Congratulations to them — they are deserving winners. They are a juggernaut of a team that made easy work of pretty much everybody. For us Arsenal fans, that “pretty much” is important; theirs isn’t gold.
Banter aside, Liverpool have been a great team for a few seasons. But five seasons ago in 2015, they were in a similar position to the one in which Arsenal find themselves right now — not achieving results in line with expectations and club history, an in-season manager change, and a roster than needed fixing. Jurgen Klopp guided Liverpool to 8th that season. Then, the Reds came fourth two years running. Last season, they were second by a point.
It took time for them to transform into the side they are now. It also took significant investment, part of which was just spending more, part of which was funded by selling good players for top dollar and reinvesting the proceeds in the right players. The “significant investment” in the “the right players” is the part that gives me pause with respect to Arsenal possibly following the same path. I’m not sure the Gunners will rise to the same level of spending nor am I confident management will buy intelligently.
Jurgen Klopp got time. Mikel Arteta needs time. There’s only so much change you can make in one transfer window. Players take time to learn systems and develop new habits, whether they be how to press, what passes to hit, or what runs to make. If Arsenal are to do what Liverpool did, it’s going to take a few seasons to pull it off.
But clubs and fans are not a patient lot. If a team isn’t getting results, the manager’s seat heats up quickly. For Arsenal to be successful in rebuilding the roster into one that makes the Champions League and can fight for titles, we’re all going to need to have patience.