Arsenal bottle Premier League? The illogical narrative that overlooks progress

Arsenal fans have to maintain perspective and not get dragged into emotional narratives from the media declaring them ‘bottlers’ of the Premier League title.

When Julio Enciso scored at the Emirates, most Arsenal fans were not pulling their hair out or crying out in disgust at their team. For few weeks now, the supporters have conceded the title to Manchester City and only hoped to see their team finish the season strongly.

The two late goals didn’t make the Arsenal fans flinch either. There was only a flash of disappointed faces who may not have envisaged such a terrible end to the game that packed so much promise. The defeat at the Emirates ended Arsenal’s title challenge, although they are still in it mathematically.

Manchester City only need to win their game against Chelsea next weekend to confirm their status as Champions. The mathematics of it all sent all those pundits and experts giggling with excitement as they declared Arsenal had ‘bottled’ the title.

The media conceived the narrative ever since the Liverpool and West Ham draw. It has followed the Gunners ever since, but actually saying they ‘bottled’ it out loud in the media makes them hypocrites.

The only difference here comes from rival fans who readily share these views on their social media platforms. It suits them as long as it’s not their club in question. The big question has to be raised on those so-called experts and pundits who have been openly criticising Arsenal for having their best season since 2003-04.

Calling them ‘bottlers’ is simply irresponsible and defeats the purpose of those men being pundits in posh studios. In any case, we’ll look into their expert views on Arsenal later. Still, for now, it’s imperative to maintain perspective and not get swayed away by the narratives in the media.

Arsenal have progressed, not bottled their future

Football is an emotional game; fans often say things they shouldn’t in a flurry of rage when things go against their side. Instead of showing disappointment at the outcome of their improbable title challenge, the Gunners supporters have to be proud of their team and think of this as only the start of things to come.

And surely, one has to sit and admire what Arsenal have achieved this season. Many have argued over the last week whether winning a trophy signifies whether a club has had a better season. Rio Ferdinand began this narrative and gaslighted the Manchester United fanbase to suggest the Carabao Cup victory signifies a better season than Arsenal’s.

So, in that case, if West Ham were to win the Conference League, would they have had a better season than Arsenal? Understanding and seeing through the success is important without the lenses only searching for silverware. Winning trophies surely is a matter of pride and elevates the mood of the fanbase in all senses, especially banter.

However, Arsenal’s achievement, first of challenging Man City right until the end and having a brilliant season, cannot go ignored only because they could not win the league. For 247 days, Mikel Arteta’s men were on top and considering the ammunition in Pep Guardiola’s armoury, they were always the favourites.

To conclude, Arsenal fans need to maintain perspective and forget about the narrative circulated in the media. Many of these experts do not understand this game beyond the emotional aspects and ideas of winning trophies. In truth, Arsenal have fallen behind a Man City side and have overachieved their objectives, that too with the youngest* team in the division.

The media narratives reeks of hypocrisy

Ask any Arsenal fan, and they will show contempt towards Gary Neville. He does a modest job as a pundit, but as a manager, he miserably failed during his brief stint at Valencia years ago. It’s quite an ordeal watching the former Manchester United man reviewing his predictions, no matter how logical.

To give him some credit, Neville did predict Man City would overcome Arsenal when they were eight points behind the Gunners. But going by how things have panned out over the last 5 years, it’s not rocket science to manifest that outcome.

Most pundits did not see Arsenal finishing in the top four, let alone challenging for the title. And now they have this ludicrous narrative that the Gunners bottled the league. What they are failing to address is the progress this young team has achieved under Arteta, and it’s quite baffling why barring a few are not talking about it enough.

Going back to those words Neville spoke in his incredible tweet, he fails to mention how entertaining this Arsenal side has been. In hindsight, they were better than 18 of the 19 teams above them. All he talks about is how the team bowed down under pressure and things like that.

Before we end this topic here, it’s important to remember Neville predicted Manchester United would finish second; they still have to confirm their top-four status. These pundits need to give out better information and analysis of teams competing at the top. Talking simply about ‘bottling’ makes them look lazy and, most importantly, ill-informed.

Arsenal have only begun the journey towards greatness

No Arsenal fan will complain about the team’s performances for large parts of the season. A generation of fans have never seen their favourite team challenge for the title, which last occurred some 20 years ago.

This young team can still score 86 points in the league, while Man City can only go until 94. It’s incredible how far Arteta’s men have pushed the button on Guardiola’s side, which has become a reason for celebration.

Arsenal’s next target should be 100 points, and then nobody can stop them from winning things. Considering all the consistent performances they have put up, the positives outweigh the negatives this season. This is a young squad, hungry for success and under the tutelage of a brilliant coach.

Arsenal will have to be smart enough to fill the minor gaps present in this squad. It’s no surprise Arteta wants Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo as his next set of midfielders. These players could elevate the quality and lug the holes that have often left the team exposed.

Moreover, this is also a long-term project, but the team needs to show character and personality in the coming years, starting from the 2023/24 season. Hence, it’s important to feel pride and not be bogged down by illogical narratives.

How are Arsenal the ‘bottlers’ if they were never expected to fight for the title? Arteta & Co are ready to fight and show the world they are worth the hype. As for the media, they have to get serious about building narratives in thin air and focus their efforts on building good analyses.

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