What does Arsenal have to do to win the League?



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By Tony Attwood

The media in this regard have already got their copy reading in terms of what to write if Arsenal don’t win the league this season.   The club had the chance (according to the media) to bring in reinforcements in January and blew it.    (See for example Mikel Arteta wants three new players in the January window to revive Arsenal’s faltering title bid)

Of course, we may ask what was so faltering then that made Arsenal need three players which a) we didn’t get and b) doesn’t seem to have bothered Arsenal since then.

But we might note that having had six straight wins in the Champions League and Premier League earlier this season Arsenal then went into one of their infamous dips, recording one win in seven games.   Now in those seven games, one of them really didn’t matter too much as the 1-1 draw with PSV at home in the Champions League was of no consequence given all that had gone before.

And the first defeat in the run (1-0 away to Aston Villa) was not quite so awful as it might seem given that at that moment Villa were third in the league, and three days before had also beaten Manchester City in the league.

The fourth game in the sequence (after the Villa defeat, draw with PSV and a home win over Brighton) was also excusable: a 1-1 away draw with Liverpool.

In fact it was only the last two games in the sequence that were a complete pain: a 0-2 home defeat to West Ham and a 2-1 away defeat to Fulham, which were followed by the 0-2 home defeat to Liverpool in the FA Cup.

So yes, that was not a good run, but not quite as disastrous as one win in seven makes it sound.  And something obviously happened because it was that FA Cup defeat away to Liverpool which was the immediate prelude to the current run of seven straight league wins, scoring 31 goals and conceding three.

Of course, the current run does include the away defeat to Porto but that game included some of the most outrageous refereeing I have ever seen – and believe me, I have seen some.  But you don’t have to take my word for it.  Our referee friend Walter Broeckx gave is a particularly detailed review of what went on in that game way back in 2010.   And indeed so awful was the refereeing that even the English media noted that something was amiss – and it really does have to be awful (and done by a foreigner) for the English media to mention it.

All of which goes to show that Arsenal might be doing exceptionally well at the moment but even all that is not enough to defeat the most biased of referees.

But let us just consider what has happened of late.  Of course, you’ll know all the scores, but here are one or two snippets you might have missed en route.

First, in scoring those first five goals in 39 minutes, Arsenal took the record for the earliest any away side has ever gained a five-goal lead in the entire history of the Premier League – which is 22 years and getting on for 8000 games all told.  .

And here’s another one…

They became the first top-flight side since Burnley in September 1961 to score five or more goals in three successive away league games,  Those 1961 games were 2-6 against Birmingham City, 2-6 again against Leicester City and then 3-5 away to Fulham.   However, they then lost their next two away games 4-2 and 3-2.

In the end Burnley came second to Ipswich Town, undone by the fact that having won their FA Cup semi-final, in the remaining nine games of the season they actually won just one league game, drew three and lost four, and then lost the cup final to Tottenham.  In short, one win in the final nine games.

Arsenal now have a goal difference of +45, which coincidentally is the same as they had at the end of last season, and a substantial improvement on their +13 at the end of 2021/22.

But let’s not get too carried away, and instead, just look at what the league winners have achieved in recent years.  In the last two rows I show the current Arsenal figures and the end-of-season figures if they carry on at the rate they have achieved through the season.



Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Manchester City 2023 38 28 5 5 94 33 61 89
Manchester City 2022 38 29 6 3 99 26 73 93
Manchester City 2021 38 27 5 6 83 32 51 86
Liverpool 2020 38 32 3 3 85 33 52 99
Arsenal 2024 27 19 4 4 68 23 45 61
Arsenal estimate 38 28 5 5 95 32 63 89


That estimated total of 89 points along with a goal difference of +63 would have been enough to win the league in two of the past four years (once on goal difference).

But the problem is if we look at how Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have performed over the whole season, or indeed any sub-set of the season other than the last seven games, Arsenal do not come top.  

So yes, Arsenal are clearly outscoring everyone and with a better defence than everyone except Manchester City who can match Arsenal in that regard.  But to win the league we are going to have to keep going at something akin to the recent level or rely on either Manchester City or Liverpool to drop points.

But there is one other little extra to help Arsenal along.  Both Liverpool and Manchester City are still in the FA Cup.

2 Replies to “What does Arsenal have to do to win the League?”

  1. I think if the current three-horse race continues until the end of the season, the eventual winners will accrue less than 90 points.

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