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By Bulldog Drummond
What Arsenal need is one point more than the club that comes fifth, in order to get back into the Champions League next season.
Of course, quite often the club that comes fourth gets more than one point above the fifth placed team, but my point here is that such a club would have come fourth with just one point more.
That would mean getting between 76 points and 63 points while coming fourth. So obviously quite a variation, and what Arsenal will have to be aiming for, is 76 points.
The last time we achieved this was 2013/14 when we got 79 points and came fourth.
Mind you as the table shows, anything from 73 points upwards would have given us fourth.
Indeed it is one of the great ironies of recent football that the last time Arsenal qualified for the Champions League was in 2015/16 when the club came second with 71 points. The following season we came fifth with 75 points and so failed to qualify for the Champs League in 2017/18. Here’s the table of the recent achievements of the fifth placed teams…
The final column shows how far above or below that place Arsenal were
|year||5th placed team||F||A||GD||Pts||AFC||Difference|
So six points more might well get us fourth, but to be safe we need to be aiming for 11 points more. And this takes us back to the old game of finding that improvement from the games last season.
We are looking for four defeats turned into wins or four draws turned into wins and four defeats turned into draws. And because we won’t know how strong the other traditional top six clubs (plus Newcastle to make it the new big seven) are I’m going to take the results against non-top seven clubs.
The question is, do we have enough games against lower ranking teams where we got draws and defeats?
In fact I don’t think we have enough draws – there were only three against teams outside the super seven (journalists love alliteration and I am sure they will soon be calling the big six the super seven, so I thought I would get in there first).
These were draws against Brighton away, Palace at home and Burnley at home. So I’m turning those three into wins, and thus gaining six more points.
Now we need another five points which means turning defeats into draws, or maybe even wins. Again I am not going to suggest we are achieving this against other members of the super seven, so what have we got left by way of defeats.
In fact there were five such defeats, so that means in each of these games we get a draw.
|13 Aug 2021||Brentford v Arsenal||L||2-0||Premier League|
|06 Dec 2021||Everton v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
|04 Apr 2022||Crystal Palace v Arsenal||L||3-0||Premier League|
|09 Apr 2022||Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion||L||1-2||Premier League|
|16 Apr 2022||Southampton v Arsenal||L||1-0||Premier League|
Eight more goals scored, or a number of extra goals and fewer conceded to make up the eight. And the table looks like this – remembering these extra points all come from improved results against teams from lower down the league while assuming all other results stay the same.
But what about the other members of the super seven? Here are our results from last season:
|22 Aug 2021||Arsenal v Chelsea||L||0-2||Premier League|
|28 Aug 2021||Manchester City v Arsenal||L||5-0||Premier League|
|26 Sep 2021||Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur||W||3-1||Premier League|
|20 Nov 2021||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||4-0||Premier League|
|27 Nov 2021||Arsenal v Newcastle United||W||2-0||Premier League|
|02 Dec 2021||Manchester United v Arsenal||L||3-2||Premier League|
|01 Jan 2022||Arsenal v Manchester City||L||1-2||Premier League|
|16 Mar 2022||Arsenal v Liverpool||L||0-2||Premier League|
|20 Apr 2022||Chelsea v Arsenal||W||2-4||Premier League|
|23 Apr 2022||Arsenal v Manchester United||W||3-1||Premier League|
|12 May 2022||Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal||L||3-0||Premier League|
|16 May 2022||Newcastle United v Arsenal||L||2-0||Premier League|
Four wins, eight defeats, no draws. Only two of the defeats were by a single goal (Manchester City and Manchester United) and obviously, an extra goal in each game would give us two more points. But the results over all against the other big teams shows us that quite a gap has opened up.
However let us not forget the last 35 games of last season – a table we have considered before
Maybe we are not so far away after all.
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