Why I Hope City Win the League

The order that things happen in will always dictate how one feels about things. If Liverpool had had their sticky pitch much earlier in the season, the end of it would have felt like a glorious run for the finish line that ultimately fell just short. Instead, we have been left feeling as though we missed a massive chance to win the league, with the dropped points in recent matches giving the impression that we’ve thrown it away. I’ve even seen some people, including some Liverpool supporters who should know better, saying that we ‘bottled it’. In the end, our failure to win the league had nothing to do with a lack of nerve, but rather the same short-comings that we’ve shown all season long finally catching up with us. I thought it was funny when we played Everton and they sang that we ‘lost the league at Goodison Park’. I’m not going to begrudge them singing that, even though it’s blatantly a ridiculous notion. You don’t lose the league in one match, although if you did then I think Manchester United supporters have far more reason to crow than Evertonians.

If you can’t beat this genuinely atrocious United side then you don’t deserve to win the league. The fact that we took just two points from them across the two games, to say nothing of getting knocked out of the FA Cup after battering them in their own backyard, then you really don’t deserve to win the league. Whilst our Bluenose brethren might like to say we lost the league at their place, the reality is that we lost it with draws against Luton and Chelsea at the start of the season. We lost it when the match referee decided that Martin Odergaard playing basketball in his own area was a totally legal move. We lost it when Jeremy Doku performed a karate kick on Alexis Mac Allister and no penalty was awarded. We lost it when Luis Diaz’s goal against Tottenham Hotspur wasn’t given and the match referee decided to send off Diogo Jota for not touching another player twice. You lose a league across countless different moments, not simply because you failed to beat one team once. It remains a season to be proud of, regardless of what the Blues might think.

It Makes it Easier to Pretend it Didn’t Happen

The reality of Manchester City is that they’re playing by different rules to everyone else. Even if you want to ignore the fact that the UEFA effectively said that they were guilty of financial misconduct but that it happened during a period of time that was too far out of their remit to be able to do something about it, the 115 charges that they face from the Premier League should help to prove the point. Of course, they haven’t been found guilty of anything on that front just yet, so their supporters get to pretend that everything is normal when they win the league every season. Personally, I am of the opinion that nation states should not be allowed to own football clubs. Whether they’re hiding behind smoke and mirrors in the case of Saudi Arabia and Newcastle United thanks to the Public Investment Fund or Man City’s owner being the vice president and deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, it’s just plain wrong. There are loads of reasons for this that go past just the financial too, including the political ramifications.

It would be naive of us all not to think that there will be conversations taking place in backrooms in which politicians are discussing with the Premier League the potentially issues of Manchester City being relegated to League Two, which is where most people think they belong after the 15 charges came to light. Whether it be members of the Tory Party or Labour who are having such discussions, the fear will be that the UAE might decide to withdraw money that is invested in the country should the club that the UAE de facto owns be punished for its transgressions. The same is true of Saudi Arabia, with politicians believed to have intervened to ensure the takeover was allowed to happen in the first place. In other words, even without the cheating that most football fans think that City have engaged in, the simple fact that their owners can speak to politicians to help grease the wheels for whatever they want to do means that they operate on a different level to most clubs, so them ‘buying’ another league title is easier to stomach because it feels as though it just doesn’t count.

If Arsenal Win it Will Feel Like a Missed Opportunity

Whilst 115 Charges FC winning the title is easier to dismiss in the minds of most football fans because of the manner in which the club operates, the same can’t be said of a win for Arsenal. The Gunners have had an insane amount of luck this season when it comes to injuries, not just in the form of their own players remaining fit for most of the campaign but also in the timing of when they’ve played other teams. Even yesterday, when they took on Manchester United, the Red Devils were missing Bruno Fernandes in what was only the second club match that he’s missed because of injury in his career. Ignoring that, though, there is a sense that if Arsenal win then Liverpool have missed an opportunity. The Gunners are a very good team, even if I’m not entirely convinced by the manager. There are some excellent players in the team and you can’t argue with how well they’ve performed defensively. I am convinced, though, that if the Reds had had their luck with injuries then we’d already have broken the 100 point barrier, so I’m not sure of how good they actually are.

If City win then it is the seventh title in eight seasons, so we all get to point to the 115 charges levelled against them and dismiss their accomplishment as nothing short of what happens when you don’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else. It also remains the case that Liverpool will still be the only team to have stopped them from winning the Premier League, which is a badge of honour. There is also the chance that maybe, just maybe, it will make the London press sit up and take notice if one of their much-loved teams from the capital misses out instead of the Reds. Arsenal not winning the title could result in some calling for something to actually be done about what City have been up to, whereas LIVERPOOL BAD has been the over-riding feeling from most quarters when we’ve been the ones to miss out. What City have been up to isn’t right and a fourth consecutive title, the first time that will have been accomplished, might just cause more pressure on the Premier League to actually do something about it, with the integrity of their competition lying in tatters.

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