English football seems to spend more time at various crossroads than Robert Johnson, but here we are again. Many paths lie open, not all of them good.
The last increase in TV money made clubs all over the country's top flight prick their ears up and start to look around Europe for suitable players to invest in/waste more money than ever on (delete as appropriate). The next increase, coming into effect for next season, could fire the starting gun for a mass spending spree the likes of which football in England - and the world - has never seen.
That makes things pretty awkward for the established order. With these upstart teams lower in the league able to start challenging them in the transfer market, there's now a clear and present danger to the stability of the 'traditional top four'.
You can see it already, popping off into Wacky-Land a season ahead of schedule. Leicester, West Ham and Spurs are taking up three of the top five places in the league as the end of the season draws near, with Arsenal and Manchester City languishing in third and fourth places. Chelsea have spent almost their entire campaign in the bottom half.
That's why Arsenal need to win the Premier League this season.
I don't like it any more than you do, but it's the way it has to be. The season has been full of shocks from start to finish, almost too numerous to count. Chelsea putting up the worst title defence in living memory. City's multiple hammerings at the hands of 'lesser' teams. Spurs forgetting their 'Spurs-y' nature. Leicester...well, being Leicester.
There's only one thing left that could possibly spring a surprise in this Premier League season, and it must be allowed to pass in order to complete the circle. Arsenal need to actually avoid melting down under pressure and actually win the league. As the meerkat who haunts my every nightmare even now would put it - Simples!
Horribly dated pop culture references aside, this really is the only thing which can bring this rollercoaster season to a conclusion which doesn't see the Premier League - and with it, the Football League below - thrown into unutterable chaos. Players might pick European football with West Ham over mediocrity and a League Cup run with Liverpool. How on earth would fans know where to turn?
If the current trend continues, Barcelona bench-warmers might be turning down both Chelsea AND Manchester United in favour of a title tilt with Leicester. With the playing field becoming more and more level financially, the competitive edge will follow. The Foxes won't be the only upstarts in Top Four Town. It's unacceptable.
It might be vaguely titillating in the short term to watch the big clubs - the real powers - shake their fists impotently at the impish exuberance of Spurs and Leicester in particular, but think about where that kind of thing leaves the Premier League brand globally.
Foreign fans are the cornerstone of the Premier League's marketability, and they're notably fickle. If they're ready to throw everything behind Manchester United going into the season and look like absolute idiots when Altrincham fluke their way to a title in five years time, they're liable to just throw in the towel and sack off the whole thing. Why bother?
This can all be avoided. Arsenal spend enough time and money on their medical facilities that they must surely by now be able to surgically transplant some kind of spine into their midfield in time for the run-in, right?
If Arsenal can come roaring back past Spurs and Leicester and claim their rightful place at the top of the table by the end of the season, then normality can be restored. Leicester will fade. Spurs will continued to be Spurs. Things will go back to normal.
If the traditional top four (or new 'big five') can reestablish themselves, the future of English football can be secured. That European Super League plan can maybe even go back up on the shelf for the time being. Arsenal. Must. Win.
Oh. Sorry. I appear to have been reading from fun-hating American monster Charlie Stillitano's notes by mistake. Actually, all that talk of unpredictable chaos sounds like great fun.
Bring on the brave new world of English football.
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