Date:Saturday July 12 2014
Over the days since Alexis Sanchez signed for Arsenal I`ve seen a multitude of articles and comments suggesting that the Chilean has made a mistake is choosing North London over Merseyside.
Some of them reasoned, other complete and utter nonsense borne from nothing more than sour grapes, however I`m here today to let you know why Sanchez made the right choice in becoming a Gooner.
It`s no secret that Liverpool almost won the league last season and they did so playing some excellent football, however, as underlined in this article I wrote back in March, Liverpool`s season was 25% shorter than Arsenal`s considering they had absolutely no European games to play and exited both domestic cups fairly early on (knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal), their recovery times between matches was greatly extended and as such allowed Liverpool to get through the league season with less injuries and more energy.
You might think this a petty point, but it is completely relevant and in fact the coming litmus test to see if Liverpool are actually "back" did not lie in last season`s impressive title challenge it will lie in the coming season as they attempt to balance Champions League and Premier League football.
Arsenal on the other hand faced a gruelling schedule last season and the draws for the cup competitions were far from kind, the Gunners took on Fenerbahce, Marseille, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Everton and Bayern Munich (among others) in the cups last season.
Then there were the injuries, of course Liverpool missed Luis Suarez through their first 8 games however, to my mind, it was a mere drop in the ocean compared to the months and months of inaction for players like Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil. Excuses? Maybe. But as excuses go, not bad ones as to why Arsenal maybe didn`t acquire as many points as they should.
This isn`t a complaint you understand, injuries happen in football all the time, it`s just to point out why Arsenal are not quite as "bad" as some Liverpool fans might have you believe.
Despite all this, for all their goals Liverpool only managed to finish 5 points above Arsenal. It was so close in fact that had the Gunners not got whooped at Anfield and instead have squeaked a 1-0, then we would have finished above them. Fine margins.
Then there`s the fact that any deal that would have seen Sanchez go to Liverpool would have meant Suarez going in the other direction (which will happen anyway). Luis Suarez is not the be all and end all at Liverpool, but to suggest he wasn`t the largest factor in Liverpool`s season is just ludicrous.
Yes Daniel Sturridge had a fine season last year, but Suarez not only scored 31 goals, he made 13 assists (many of them probably for Sturridge himself) for the good of the team, the gaping hole the Uruguayan leaves in the club is massive and it`s unknown how well Rodgers can fill it this season.
All these factors just make Liverpool too risky a choice for Sanchez. All the extra football, the lack of a world class player like Suarez there are just too many unknown variables. Of course Liverpool could improve on last season and storm to a league title, however I would say it`s unlikely.
To choose Arsenal however is much less of a risk, in fact recent history would suggest joining Arsenal at this time means you're coming to a club that's more likely to win silverware than Liverpool.
We have a lot of fun poked at us for our consistent 4th place finishes, however what we have done that has gone unnoticed is that over the last 4 seasons we`ve gotten better and better each year. Yes the increase in points has been slight, but we are going in the right direction and we have opened a ten point gap on the Arsenal of four years ago. And we`ve being doing it whilst playing in the Champions League.
Sanchez is an amazing player, but I think that most would agree that whilst Alexis is far more pleasant a human being, Suarez is the better footballer and had Sanchez gone to Liverpool and Luis going the other way, Liverpool would have been weaker for it (as it is, they`re massively weaker now) however in choosing Arsenal he`s coming to a club that has the potential to be so much stronger for his move.
It`s just common sense.
Phil Thompson also made reference (after claiming Sanchez to Liverpool was a done deal. Heh) the fact that Sanchez had made the wrong choice due to Liverpool`s "worldwide fan-base" and history and traditions.
It`s common knowledge that Liverpool are one of the most decorated clubs in England, but Arsenal are no slouches in that department, however I don`t see what difference that should make to Sanchez`s career choice? I mean just how far back in history do you go?
Arsenal won the FA Cup last year, Liverpool won nothing. Liverpool haven`t won the league in almost a quarter of a century. Damning statistics … but they don`t matter one jot to Sanchez, for him it's all about what is to come.
With regards to the fan-base, Arsenal`s "worldwide fan-base" is huge, just check out the photos from all around the world on FA Cup final day. Arsenal`s fans may not be the loudest in the world (But don`t be fooled, aside from the big matches when Scousers are boisterous (which any set of fans are) Anfield can be just as quiet as any stadium in the country) but make no mistake, we love our players and they know it.
Just look at how many of our ex-players either regret leaving, return to the club to work or can be found on any given day professing their love for the club that adored them in return.
Alexis Sanchez made the right choice in joining Arsenal, of that there is no mistake.
Date:Saturday July 12 2014
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