Despite Mikel Arteta’s early improvements, the Arsenal are still reliant on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score the team’s goals.
There is nothing more certain than death and taxes… except for Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal challenging for the flag.
In the great history of the English game, particularly since the ’60s, the odds have always been stacked in favour of the big six.
When the EPL formed and the five instigators threatened to break away from the first division it was because they had come to realise their power.
The 80 teams in the English Football Association were sharing television rights equally and that didn’t suit the big six.
So, rightly or wrongly, the big six became the instigators of a Super League breakaway concept… and television, BBC, ITV and Rupert and all the media bought it.
Now the architects of the great English coup, the owners and chief executives of the big six, knew where the power base lay.
So the 15 other clubs in the EPL, by their design, were essentially there to make up the numbers in the new Super League.
If Newcastle played Southampton, yes, there was a television audience.
And if Everton played Blackpool, it was the same story.
But any game involving the big six had dollars – or should I say quid – written all over it. That was all the Media needed to sell the concept.
The forming of the EPL had success written all over it.
The big six were still able to pull the strings, the media could still sell space and time ad nauseum and the 15 number maker-uppers were more than happy to compete for the three bottom spots, if not some obscure shot at a European competition or the FA Cup.
The administrators were taking in a huge haul, via media rights, cash through the turnstiles, cash through the concession stands and cash from sponsors. Just as importantly, this was to occur for six to seven month, guaranteed.
That’s what you call a successful competition.
It’s like saying “here we go, you 15 miserable hangers-on; go sit in the corner and lick the cream off the floor”.
The EPL is not an English invention; it is an invention of the media.
It is not a level playing field. It is a competition of six teams.
It is not predicated upon what’s good for the youth of England (like the AFL have created in Australia), but what’s good for the fat men plotting behind closed doors.
So while the EPL careers down the road of success, the England team is a basket case and will remain so until the balance is restored.
All the good players in England can play 70-90 games of football in an eight-month period. That’s one game every three days. They are literally run off their legs.
And while television and the big six apply their concept of a ‘competition’, 15 teams can never win it.
I stand to applaud the big six, ITV, BBC and Rupert Murdoch for the great competition they have established and for the great monopoly they have established.
But I think the power brokers who fear tinkering with the mix and bringing the house of cards down ought to re-think.
You might as well just have a Super League with the big six and Newcastle playing every week – a super six, per se.
If Sky B, Mr. Murdoch, the FA and the clubs are fair dinkum, they will take the next big step.
That is, create a draft, a salary cap and some combination which enables the 15 to have a fair-dinkum chance at winning a title.
And then watch the fall out.
Rupert and the big six will choke on their sausage rolls over that one. But it is the logical next step.
The EPL is football.
Football is meant to be a team game, where every team has a chance to win the title.
But since 1992 when the EPL was formed, Blackburn has been the only team outside the big six to have managed the impossible and won a championship.
And that was Alan Shearer time, when the world went crazy for eight months.