5th plus one point: Arsenal’s minimum target



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.

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 27 5 6 102 37 65 86
2 Liverpool 38 26 6 6 101 50 51 84
3 Chelsea 38 25 7 6 71 27 44 82
4 Arsenal 38 24 7 7 68 41 27 79
5 Everton 38 21 9 8 61 39 22 72

 

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
2022 Arsenal 61 48 13 69 69 0
2021 Leicester City 68 50 18 66 61 -5
2020 Leicester City 67 41 26 62 56 -6
2019 Arsenal 73 51 22 70 70 0
2018 Chelsea 62 38 24 70 63 -7
2017 Arsenal 77 44 33 75 75 0
2016 Manchester United 49 35 14 66 71 +5
2015 Tottenham Hotspur 58 53 5 64 75 +11
2014 Everton 61 39 22 72 79 +5
2013 Tottenham Hotspur 66 46 20 72 73 +1

 

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.

Date Match Result Score Competition
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.

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 29 6 3 99 26 73 93
2 Liverpool 38 28 8 2 94 26 68 92
3 Arsenal 38 25 5 8 61 48 13 80
4 Chelsea 38 21 11 6 76 33 43 74
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 22 5 11 69 40 29 71

 

But what about the other members of the super seven?   Here are our results from last season:

Date Match Result Score Competition
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

pos team  P W D L F A GD Pts
35 27 6 2 89 25 64 87
35 26 7 2 88 25 63 85
35 22 3 10 61 39 22 69
35 19 10 6 70 32 38 67
35 19 5 11 66 40 26 62
35 15 6 14 38 40 -2 51
35 14 9 12 50 55 -5 51

 

Maybe we are not so far away after all.

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