This has not been the season that Arsenal fans expected. Blunt introductions but straight to the point, it has been a bad year for Arsenal Football Club. As it currently stands we sit set in sixth place in the premier league, a gargantuan 37 points off Leaders Manchester City and 14 points off bitter rivals Tottenham who sit in fourth. Chelsea, who occupy fifth are also an eight point gap away and based on our displays since December it looks unlikely that we will catch them. We did not qualify for Champions League at the end of last season and it looks unlikely through league campaign anyway that we are not to achieve this. The FA Cup, our only saving grace in the past seasons disintegrated very early this year to Championship side Nottingham Forest. And finally our chance at silverware glory in the Carabao Cup was lost and humbled to Pep Guardiola’s super Manchester City team.
A miserable year to date and what more is we still are unclear and unhappy on the future of Arsene Wenger, for his sake talk of his future has somewhat died down, moreover because focus for many fans has moved onto the international stage this week and the World Cup in Russia this summer. Though he has not helped himself by recently criticising the criticism of his performances to ‘ageism’ this past week. Still you ask is there anything good we can take make for the rest of this season?
The Europa League is still a competition we are competing in and looking forward to returning to next week, a home first leg quarter final against CSKA Moscow following a Sunday away league fixture to Stoke City. In my opinion so long as we avoid Atletico Madrid in the next draw then I Would give us a chance of winning the competition and returning to that very sought after achievement of champions league football next season. I would fancy us against many of the opposition left in the competition, Dortmund being one of the three favourites already falling out, as have Napoli and AC Milan, who I felt we took very good care of, especially after a very poor string of results coming into 2018 – notably:
4-2 Loss to Nottinham Forest (FA Cup 3rd round away 07/01/2018)
2-1 Loss to Bournemouth (away 14/01/2018)
3-1 Loss to Swansea ( away 30/01/2018)
1-0 Loss to Tottenham ( away 10/02/2018 – end of us getting top four effectively)
3-0 Humbling to Manchester City (Carabao cup final 25/02/2018)
3-0 lost to Manchester City (Home 01/03/2018)
2-1 Loss to Brighton (away 04/03/2018)Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal in action playing taking AC Milan to the sword.
In the league between January and the international break we won 3 of 9 premier league fixtures (4-1 to Crystal Palace H, 5-1 to Everton H and 3-0 to Watford H). A total of 10 points from 30 shows how poorly Arsenal have blipped this year, particularly away from home. Results in the Europa League and semi-final success over Chelsea in the Carabao cup the only highlight.Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal after the shock defeat to Brighton.
This is a regular occurrence for Arsenal fans. Arsenal have become notorious for their mid season blip for easily over a decades worth of seasons, coming into normally February firing in all the competitions they are in (exception to Carabao Cup and FA in previous four seasons) to come crashing down to earth usually within the space of two weeks in all competitions. A few significant defeats in the league and losses to a heavyweight of Europe normally seals Arsenal to a solely top four season focus. Where pressure and expectation occur Arsenal have usually faltered, and it is an annual and upsetting occasion each time it happens.
What happens after the annual crash normally goes under the radar. Arsenal will generally hit hot form and finish strongly. From 2012-13 Arsenal went onto finish fourth with 8 out of 10 victories. The season after Arsenal won their last six matches and went eight unbeaten after losing 6-0 to Chelsea to again finish fourth as well as win their first of three FA Cups in this decade. In 2014-15 after losing to Tottenham in February they went on to lose only once more to Swansea in fifteen matches, winning eleven of those games and again lifted the FA Cup. 2015-16 after losing to Swansea in Early March went unbeaten in the final ten games to finish second. Even last season Arsenal won 7 of the 8 final league matches, losing to Tottenham however meant Arsenal would finish outside of the top four for the first time under Arsene Wenger.
This season a good run will at best get us into fifth, I feel we are too far from Tottenham in fourth and with their abilities this season I cannot see them dropping the points consistently and us winning with the continual regularity to overtake them. Chelsea however do look vulnerable. We have caught and overtaken eight point gaps in the past before. With new players like Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan looking good already and with a run of games behind them I can see them both contributing well to the team to help us get the most out of our remaining games. It will be a good way for them both to impress and set a buzz on how good they could be going into next season. I can see Aubameyang scoring another ten goals easily as he began to hit a vein of form coming up to the international break.Embed from Getty Images
Will Aubameyang continue to celebrate his goalscoring feats for Arsenal?
My only frustration is the unavailability of Aubameyang in the Europa League, with Lacazette returning to fitness Danny Welbeck will be our only natural available option in a centre forward position for us. This could hinder our chances if we were to face Atletico before the final, especially over two legs. I really hope Arsenal continue their late form of seasons past and give us something to shout about and more importantly some strong to get behind going into next season.