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Manchester City, played three, won three. Manchester United, played three, won three. Chelsea, played three, won three. Arsenal, played three, won one, drawn one, lost one.

So why have the new kids on the block started so well and yet Arsenal, with their wily old manager, have started off in what has become their usual manner?

Beginner’s luck, maybe? After all this is the first visit to the Premier League for Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte. Even José Mourinho is looking for a new beginning after all his trials and tribulations with Chelsea last season. Luck, however, doesn’t consistently get results over hard work. The old cliché, “the harder I work the luckier I get,” comes to mind.*

Yet for some reason, these three have hit the ground running having immediately found a winning formula. Arsene Wenger has hit the ground, stumbled, nearly fallen over but just managed to stay on his feet long enough to break into a leisurely stroll and hope that nobody noticed.

Should Wenger have retired at the end of last season? Should he have taken his team’s failure to finish above Leicester City as a sign that the end was nigh? If he should have done so, he didn’t, and he stubbornly refuses to step down citing that he is scared and wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he did. I find this an incredibly selfish stance for him to take, particularly when the team shows no signs of improvement.

The lessons from last season don’t appear to have been learned which, this season, will cause Arsenal even more problems.

They should have won the title last time out. Their usual competition was self-destructing in the case of Chelsea, inconsistent in the case of Manchester City, and suffering from the van Gaal effect in the case of Manchester United. So all Arsenal really had to do to win the Premier League title for the first time in years was to finish above Leicester City.

They failed to do so, as the whole world knows and this season, if they want to win the title, the bar has been raised. They will still have to finish above Leicester City but they will now also have to finish above the other big three, Chelsea, United and City. Maybe Tottenham and Liverpool will be part of the equation but that, at present, is looking doubtful.

As far as Conte, Guardiola and Mourinho are concerned they are in it to win it. They will not be happy just winning a cup and finishing third or fourth. They are serial winners, even second place is nowhere to them.

I find it quite surprising when I see athletes returning from the Olympics having won silver or bronze and speaking of how proud they are of their achievement. I have no quarrel with this attitude and congratulate them on seeing their hard work pay off, after all they may just be putting on a brave face to hide their own disappointment.

The fact is that they were beaten because somebody either had more talent or worked harder. I just wonder what the attitude of the three aforementioned managers would be when finishing second or third. Mourinho, for example, is well known for giving away his runners-up medals.

This does not seem to be the case at Arsenal and it is understandable that the natives are very restless. They have sat and watched as Manchester City announced the arrival of Pep Guardiola as their new manager. This was followed by Chelsea replacing caretaker-manager Guus Hiddink with Antonio Conte and then José Mourinho turned up at Old Trafford.

“Boring, boring Arsenal,” turned into “1-0 for the Arsenal,” which is now fast becoming “same old, same old Arsenal.” It does seem as though a change is required.

Fortunately for the now long-suffering Gooners, this is the final year of Mr. Wenger’s contract. There is now a distinct possibility that Arsene will step into the elevator and press the “up” button to an office marked “Director of Football” or something along those lines and fade into the distance. A little like a certain Sir Alex Ferguson did three years ago.

Certainly Arsenal supporters will be hoping that he is finally going to do the decent thing. It has now reached the stage where even winning the title would not change the minds of the majority. As I have said in the past, it is no game for old men as it explains here. Three of the four in that article have now gone, guess who the fourth one is?

*(There is some debate as to the actual wording of this quotation with some attributing it to Gary Player who, when accused of being lucky after holing a long putt is reported to have said, “Yeah, and the more I practice, the luckier I get)


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