Bottled ? Arsenal can end ‘disappointing’ Premier League season by matching Invincibles
Arsenal may have crumbled in the Premier League title race, but they’ve had a brilliant season nonetheless – and the stats prove it.
The Gunners will end the campaign in second place behind Manchester City after suffering back-to-back defeats in the top flight.
Mikel Arteta’s side topped the standings for 248 days but started dropping points steadily since early April.
The North Londoners squandered a two-goal lead against Liverpool and West Ham, drew at Southampton, lost to City, before being beaten by Brighton and Nottingham Forest.
This has led to Arsenal being dubbed ‘bottlers’, but that’s far from true, with the club showing huge progress this season.
For starters, they secured a Champions League return for the first time since 2017.
Their achievement is even more impressive considering they missed out on the top four on the final day of last season, with Arteta backed to be sacked if they finished fifth or below this season.
Even though there is a bit of misfortune among the club’s fanbase, Arsenal can still end the season with their record number of Premier League wins.
If they beat Wolves at the Emirates on Sunday they will be on 26 wins – the same number they managed in their title-winning campaigns in 2001/02 and 2003/04.
And if they manage to score the Midlands side four times, they will score 87 league goals, which will again equal their record set in the 2004/05 season.
Incredibly, they have scored ten more goals than their legendary Invincibles side, where Thierry Henry has netted 30 times in the league.
Victory would also net them 14 of 19 home wins, which would be their second-highest tally ahead of their fans.
Arsenal have already won 12 away wins – their second most ever – only behind their double-winning season in 2002.
And what fans seem to forget is that Arsenal have the second-youngest team in the division – only behind Southampton who have been relegated to the Championship.
Their average starting XI is 25 years and 38 days old, with only last season’s squad and the club’s 2008/09 squad having a younger squad.
Arteta’s side are also the only side in Europe’s top five leagues to have four players scoring ten or more league goals. [Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus].
The Spaniard has admitted responsibility for the club’s inconsistent form after last week’s defeat at the City Ground.
And while his tactical setup for the game could be questioned, his high press system for most of the season worked wonders.
Only City and Brighton played them out of the park, with the results coinciding with a drop in performance and the loss of William Saliba to injury.
Despite their obvious improvement, Arsenal cannot afford to stand still in the summer market and show loyalty to the players who put them in this position.
Changes are still needed if they wish to mount another title, especially with the departure of former skipper Granit Xhaka.
But if Arsenal were to secure their top targets – which include Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo – there’s little reason to suggest why they can’t win their first championship since 2004.