Why Arsenal winning the Premier League would be marvellous from a PR-perspective

January 26th 2023 By Josh Kerr 3 minute read

“Arsenal, Premier League champions 2023!” Even whispering those words seems strange, especially when you consider the tumultuous and chaotic years the club has endured over the past 10 - 15 years – and that’s coming from a Liverpool supporter. 

Still, from a PR perspective, Arsenal’s unexpected title bid is nothing short of a miracle – and one that senior Premier League figures should seriously be getting behind. I mean, just rewind back a few months ago, and the outcome for the season seemed predictable and uninspiring. Manchester City and Erling Haaland seemed set to steamroller the division with the latter scoring 50+ goals in the process. Even the non-football enthusiasts could have predicted that from just a cursory glance of the news.

Yet, if Arsenal do what many deemed impossible not too long ago (especially given Mikel Arteta’s precarious position as manager at the end of last season), what would that say of Premier League preconceptions? Most importantly, it would underline why the English league still remains the most unpredictable, chaotic and quite frankly, brilliant footballing spectacle in the world. 

After all, during a time when there are state-run clubs with the wealth, influence and power of an entire country, football is on the brink of losing its sense of authenticity and unpredictability – a facade, real or not, that suggested anything was possible. 

Just look at the previous five Premier League seasons, for example. Manchester City have won the league four times and registered some of the highest points totals in history. So, when Haaland, a highly-tipped future Ballon d’Or winner and veritable goal machine, joined the back-to-back champions, many declared the title race was over before it had even begun. They were already the best team, with the best manager, biggest budget and had just added Europe’s best and most coveted striker to their ranks. The league winners for 2022/23 had been crowned before a ball was even kicked – and from a PR standpoint, this was a terrible prospect for the Premier League. 

However, here we are at the halfway point, and it’s Arsenal’s title to lose. You heard that right – a team who hasn’t come close to winning the league since its unprecedented unbeaten title-winning campaign 19 years ago – is taking the country by storm. The narrative is fuelled further with the starring roles of a couple of Manchester City cast-offs [Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko), their Guardiola-lite coach and the youngest starting line-up in the competition. Factor all that in, and you’ve got one of the best sporting underdog stories in years – and I mean, who doesn’t love an underdog

Just look at Leicester City winning the Premier League in 2016; Japan beating South Africa in the 2015 Rugby World Cup; and Emma Raducanu winning the US Open and her first grand slam at 18 years old despite having pre-tournament odds of 400/1. It’s these types of upsets that fuel our sporting addictions and keep us coming back for more year after year, after year, after year. 

But what would it mean to those charged with protecting the image of the league itself? Well, for one, it would demonstrate that the biggest commercial spectacle isn’t just bought, it is won, with fine football, meticulous coaching and yes, clever recruitment, too – not just throwing aimless millions at quick fixes – something the league has been working tirelessly to protect amid the sport becoming one of the most lucrative and financially gargantuan businesses in existence. 

So yes, even though I myself am not an Arsenal supporter, I will be rooting for them to upset the apple cart and disrupt the establishment. As the Joker famously said: “Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos.” 

I think Premier League PR bods, too, will share the Clown Prince of Crime’s viewpoint and are relishing the anarchy this weird and wonderful season has descended into.

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