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How likely are Arsenal to get into the top four by the end of the season?

By Tony Attwood

The prime objective of this season for many supporters was, I think, to see Arsenal get back into the Champions League, where Mr Wenger had kept the club for so many years (a run, as I have mentioned before, which has only ever been exceeded by Real Madrid).

I made the comment before the season started that the obvious way to do this was to improve Arsenal’s away record.  Indeed a return to our regular performances of recent years in away form while maintaining our home form would take us up to third.

But… I did indeed miss out one rather vital point.  That notion of improving the away form and keeping the home form as before assumed that the rest of the top six clubs from last season did not improve – thus creating a bigger gap between the top six and the rest of the league and the top four and Arsenal.

In fact that is not what has come to pass, because the top six, at least thus far, has become a top five, and several of the top six from last season have indeed improved.

In the table below (put together before Tottenham’s game this weekend against Everton) I have taken the goal difference of this year against last year, and the points gained this year from the same number of games last year – except for Tottenham who thus far have played one game fewer.

Finally I have added the net spend of each club through the summer.

# Team GD 2018 GD 2017 GD diff Pts 2018 Pts 2017 Pts diff Net spend £m
1 Liverpool 32 18 +14 48 34 +12 £156.3
2 Manchester City 37 44 -7 44 52 -8 £20.6
3 Tottenham 15 13 +2 39 31 +8 £0
4 Chelsea 20 18 +2 37 38 -1 £83.5
5 Arsenal 16 11 +5 37 33 +4 £63.8
6 Manchester Utd 4 27 -23 29 41 -12 £43.5

What we can see is that Liverpool are the great gainers with 12 more points than last season and a similar rise in goal difference (+14 better GD.)  And we might expect this with them having spent £156,000,000 net in the summer.

Tottenham have also gained points, although made little improvement in their goal difference.  Chelsea are pretty much where they were, although I am sure they really hoped to be better off, having spent £83m.  Manchester City and Manchester United are the big losers – but Man City were so far ahead last year, even a drop of eight points from a year ago still keeps them very safely near the top.  (But several of my Arsenal supporting pals gave quite a cheer for Palace last night!)

So as a result of being five goals and four points better off than a year ago, Arsenal are still outside the top four.

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However as you may recall, last season after Christmas things did not go according to plan.

We safely beat Palace away but then only drew with relegation threatened WBA on New Year’s Eve.  A home draw with Chelsea on 3 January was all right given their status, but then the wheels really did start to fall off the away form…

Date Game Res Score Competition
03 Jan 2018 Arsenal v Chelsea D 2-2 Premier League
07 Jan 2018 Nottingham Forest v Arsenal L 4-2 FA Cup
10 Jan 2018 Chelsea v Arsenal D 0-0 League Cup
14 Jan 2018 AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
20 Jan 2018 Arsenal v Crystal Palace W 4-1 Premier League
24 Jan 2018 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-1 League Cup
30 Jan 2018 Swansea City v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
03 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Everton W 5-1 Premier League
10 Feb 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
15 Feb 2018 Östersunds FK v Arsenal W 0-3 Europa League
22 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Östersunds FK L 1-2 Europa League
25 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 League Cup
01 Mar 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 Premier League
04 Mar 2018 Brighton and Hove  v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League

My recollection is that it wasn’t just the number of defeats that did us, but also of losing to teams we should never lose to: Forest, Bournemouth, Östersunds FK at home, Brighton.

It was that combination of losing to teams we might expect to beat while also losing to Tottenham away and Man City twice.  Of course everyone knew by then that Manchester City had put together a staggeringly good team (although by that time we didn’t quite know how they were getting so much money and being able to spend it without fear of being picked up) and yes, let’s admit it, Tottenham have their best team in many a long year.

It was that we could lose to anyone and everyone.  Östersunds FK, Manchester City, Brighton, Nottingham Forest – you name them, we could lose to them.   That was the disappointment and the worry.

So the question is, can we maintain the current form and not have a dip like last year?  And, to help us get into the top four, will Chelsea’s wobble continue?

Here’s the top five before the tiny totts do their stuff this afternoon.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 18 15 3 0 39 7 32 48
2 Manchester City 18 14 2 2 50 13 37 44
3 Tottenham Hotspur 17 13 0 4 31 16 15 39
4 Chelsea 18 11 4 3 35 15 20 37
5 Arsenal 18 11 4 3 40 24 16 37

 

 

12 comments to How likely are Arsenal to get into the top four by the end of the season?

  • porter

    The objective of getting back into the champions league was most definitely the purpose of Emery’s appointment. Doing it in his first year was probably not part of the script . Logically he was given a two year contract with an add on if agreed by both parties . That was the expectation and the time limit.
    So far we seem to have improved in attitude , drive and desire but that alone is not enough to get us much further up the table.
    Wenger left us a top six team exploiting the gap between the top six and the rest . Emery has improved us in some ways but not enough to bridge the gap , we have to show patience to allow him two more windows to assemble the players that he wants. Wenger used to say judge me in May , for Emery judgement day comes May 2020.

  • Mandy Dodd

    We stand every chance, but need to have a bit better luck with injuries to key players, and defending, pretty convinced we lag behind other on both fronts.
    Agree, Emery needs time, others have much more settled squads, and I would guess bigger resources.
    Especting a strong finish though

  • quality always pays off, eventually. and though the way unai deals with some of AW’s stalwarts (cech, elneny, özil, ramsey, lacazette, …) does make me mad sometimes, the seriousness of his work is there for everyone to see. i’ve just lost count of the wonderful team goals the lads have scored so far, which is a sure sign of good things to come. and after all, arsène’s are big shoes to fill, so we can understand that the new headcoach wants to make his mark asap … which may mean bringing in his own men. but if this should happen i’ll sure miss mesut; i think he and messi are the only ones to be able to figure out the kind of pass our playmaker created out of nothing, on our first goal, last sunday.

  • Omar raph

    It’s to win morw away games and to improve our defense not to concede so many goals. to score I’m sure we will so score many goals this season. After that let’s see our rival how far they can go and we have to take chance through our game

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    if the gunners are to stay in contention contending for the top four spots finish this season’s campaign in the PL, which means is to finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th by arsenal in the positions that are usually the preserved of the top six pl club sides that are up for grab exclusively for them. and among these top six club sides who is capable of grabbing any of these four positions this season is of course arsenal fc. it’s looking imperative arsenal have no any other choice to choose other than the only choice on the table that is available to choose by them which is to beat brighton & ha on wed’s evening and get this particular job successfully done over the line at the half way mark of this season’s campaign in the PL and garner the manageable 40 points they would have collected by beating brighton to not want to see us the arsenals further gaped behind in the table and remain stagnant on 5th position should spurs and chelsea make winning progress in their games on wednessday.

    in the face of our firest north london rivals, tottenham hotspur whose tenacity at collecting points upon points in the pl games in the first half of this season is on the rise up to the end of week 18 to thus topping us on 5 points in the table, and are looking strong to not relent in collecting more more and more during the 2nd half campaign of the season. save if a recession in points collection befall them and arsenal in ambush capitalise on it. notwithstanding this anyway, it has become very necessary for arsenal to go in into the 2nd half campaign of this season on the front foot of a winning note by beating brighton whether spurs playing at home overcome bournemouth and chelsea at away do the same thing to watford or not.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I like to think that the factor most likely to prevent us would be the blatant bias of the PIGMOB. And abetted by a very pliant media .

    I’m least bothered whom the other team buys or plays. Or their brilliant manager’s tactics. On our day we can take apart any opposition if the field is level.

    I believe that we can finish in one of the CL places this season.

  • Gord

    Brickfields

    I would love to see a relegation (or near relegation) team beat ManU by 5 goals yet this season. Just to put this last game in perspective.

    I think Arsenal are capable of finishing in the Top-4, we might need a little luck to do so.

    I would love to see another St.Totteringham’s Day!

    Or St.TottenspudsFinshBelowGunners Day!

  • Menace

    To all football fans -Wishing you a Peaceful & Happy Christmas and a Prosperous Healthy 2019.

    Wishing all Untolders joy & success in our efforts to have a level playing field with victories for our Arsenal.

  • Sammy The Snake

    The strength of the Top 5 this season is quite amazing, all of them have picked up over 2 average points per game. And all of them could hit 40+ points by the midway point. So competition is tough at the top.
    Happy holidays to all Gunners!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Gord – 24/12/2018 at 6:05 am – I too would love to enjoy some cheer by the prospect on some team turning over ManUre , but am quite unsure myself if the teams from the lower reaches can achieve this. Most of them don’t stay in them parked buses ,but tend to venture out to inflict mayhem and try to maim the opposition. Much to their detriment.

    Unless of course, the stars and other ‘associated’ factors are in alignment ;and with choicest blessings of the gods that lord, rule and govern the English game.
    To the uninitiated , that means the betting companies and PIGMOB !

    As for St.Totteringham’s Day , surely the Arsenal Gods will not permit its absence three years in a row ? So all ye faithful , prepare to rejoice in May.
    Or April , or March . Depending on when they implode !

  • I’ll go along with that Menace

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I too take this opportunity to wish all Untolders A Very Merry Christmas , and A Happy New Year , seeing that I may be too full and inebriated to come on here later on.

    I would however like to echo the eloquent sentiments here actuated by Sir Humphrey and Bernard , in a language once used in the British isles a long time ago.
    Cheers !
    Up the Gunners !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vShJa6GobFQ