The fourth position trophy

Photograph: EFE

The winner will not get a trophy to exhibit in the club’s museum. “We are the champions” will not sound in a crowded celebration and the club’s name will not appear in the list of winners of any championship or cup and remain there for the history of football. But from now on three teams will struggle for something more important than any title: the future. Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea need to get the last Champion’s position each of them for different worrying reasons. But for all of them the 4th position will mean more than a FA Cup or a Capital One Cup.

Arsenal seems to have improved their finances and for the first time in some years Arsene Wenger is going to manage a big amount of money to bring the team back to the winner’s way. However, to sign up “top” players is essential be playing de Champions League. It would be hardly improbable for any of the best players to accept signing for a club that misses the greatest team competition of the world. Not getting the forth position could bring the Gunners to a paradoxical situation: they will have the money to sign top players, but those players would be ready to lower their status by playing the Europa League instead of the Champions League. And that doesn’t seem much probable, so achieving the unique still remaining objective for the season is the only chance for Arsenal to overcome their mediocrity.

Eight years has already passed since Arsenal won a trophy last. If they are unable to sign good players, their lack of tittles will continue and another problem will be added: it will be difficult even to compete for the Champions League positions. Arsenal could suffer the same cycle of decline like Liverpool: without playing CL it is more difficult to convince top players to join the club and without good players it is impossible to reach the fourth position in such a competitive league as the Premier.

In the case of Tottenham, the situation is similar, as they have a Top 3 player in Europe right now, which will be improbable for them to keep if the team is not playing CL. Of course, I am talking about Gareth Bale, one of the best players of the world for which many of the greatest teams in Europe will bid in summer. But Bale has just played the Champions League once when Tottenham lost abruptly by 5-0 aggregate against Real Madrid in 2010/2011 season’s quarter-finals.

Photograph: Zimbio.com

Such a gifted player is thought to compete not only for doing a good performance in the world’s best competition, but to try to win it. Above all because Bale was born in Wales and his only opportunity to shine playing international competitions must be with a team, as his national team will hardly clasificate  for the World Cup or the Eurocup. So he will not wait any longer to get the European glory and if Tottenham fails in obtaining the Champions League place, it will be complicated for them to retain their best player.

For Chelsea, the up-to-date European champion, not getting the fourth place would be a complete disaster. They own some of the best players of the world and their massive budget do not let room for doubt: Champions League is a must for them. The situation in Stanford Bridges’s team is stormy. With Rafa Benítez complaining about the supporters’ attitude and Abramovich’s decision of calling him “interim manager”, if Arsenal gets closer in the classification the players and the supporters will agitate the environment and that could be really harmful for the blues.

They are still playing for the FA Cup and Europe League tittles and that factor is thought to be always dangerous, as it will not be easy for the players to keep the concentration on league matches.

Photograogh: Getty Images

Tottenham has 54 points, Chelsea 52 and Arsenal 47. But the Gunners will just play league games until the end of the season and the coming matches seem much easier: in the remaining 10 matches, they will only face Everton and United as the hardest games.

Chelsea and Tottenham will play against each other, which will give Arsenal a good chance to regain some points. Also, both teams will face Liverpool and Everton, who  have European wishes, and they probably lose points in those games. We must take into account too that both Chelsea and Tottenham are trying to win the FA Cup and the Europe League, which be a factor of distraction in the home competition that will give the Gunners a chance, although being 5 points behind, to get the so needed Champions League position. In any case, it will be hard for the three of them and allevery of the 10 remaining matches will be played as finals.

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