Can we begin to dream? Five huge months

After an “indifferent” Christmas period in which we put in a brilliant performance against title rivals Manchester City, we then saw ourselves embarrassed by a Southampton team who were extremely out of form, then finished off 2015 with a warranted 2-0 victory over a spirited Bournemouth side. These results have left us sitting top of the pile at the half way stage of the season, in this blog I will be looking at this season as a comparison to previous Arsenal seasons, and providing my thoughts on how I feel it could pan out.

THE GLORY YEARS

In Arsene’s 19 year reign we’ve managed to win the premier league title on 3 occasions, the first of the 3 was in the double winning 1997/98 season, big Tony Adams smashing home a volley after being put through by our now assistant manager Steve Bould one of the iconic moments as we smashed Everton at home. The second another double winning season 01/02, securing the title at old trafford with that Wiltoooooord goal, will never forget Kanu leaping over him in the celebration. The final and most incredible of the 3 was the invincible season, 03/04. The 49 game unbeaten run, securing the title at The Lane with 2 of the best goals we scored all season, absolute perfection.

 

the glory years

The first thing that immediately jumps out is that this season after 19 games we have a larger points total than in both double winning seasons, this is despite losing more games than in any Arsenal triumph at the half way stage. Interesting to note that defensively we’ve conceded just 18, this including 4 last week, that is less than the great Adams/Bould/Keown/Campbell days, clearly one thing we do have is a solid back 5 including one of the best center goalkeepers and center backs in europe let alone the premier league. Position wise this is the best we have ever been placed to go on and win the premier league title, incredible that in 97/98 we were down in 6th at this stage, both other wins we were second. As a summary in comparison to our past success we are very well placed to go on and make it ours.

A DECADE OF ARSENAL

As we all know too well its been a long while since our last title success, we have came close on a few occasions and certainly been well placed at this stage of the season. The 07/08 season collapsing in an awful fashion after poor Eddie Da Silva’s horrific leg break, eventually finishing 3rd despite our best points total of 83. Also found ourselves in top spot at this stage in the 13/14 season again letting ourselves down and ending the season in 4th.

 

a decade of the afc

 

What can we take from this? Wins wise on only 3 occasions in the past 10 years have we had more at this stage of the season & in all 3 of those seasons we achieved more than 75 points. We have only scored less goals than we have this year in the 05/06 and 08/09 season. This is only the second occasion in 10 years we are on top at half way and looking at the data in 5/10 seasons we’ve gone on to more than double our points tally, we need something similar this season. If we are honest the last decade hasn’t been good enough but circumstances have obviously affected this, only twice gaining more than 75 points we desperately need to clear that this year.

EVENTUAL CHAMPIONS

Although this season has been like no other possibly in the Premier League its worth having a look at the eventual winners from the previous 5 seasons and how they’ve faired at this stage.

 

eventual champions

 

As you can see the points tallys have ALL been above the 80 point mark. Only one title winner in the previous 5 years have Won less games than us at this stage & only one other winner has lost 4 games at this stage too, although the nature of this season’s premier league it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a much lower title winning total. Arsenal of 15/16 have scored 8 less goals than the last 5 winners, that said though without that capitulation at Southampton we’d be looking very healthy on the goals conceded column. 4 of the last 5 winners of the premier league have been top at this stage, so that is a good omen for The Arsenal. Its going to be a ride until May.

WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO & CAN WE DO IT?

Looking at all this data, although it is from past seasons and the premier league is different this year I personally would be looking to achieve the 80 point mark, that’s 41 points from the remaining 19 games, that’s 2.15 per game.

 

home and away

41 points is very achievable despite our injury hit squad. Personally i think we should be expecting to win every single one of our home games if we stand a chance of winning the premier league title this season. Those home victories will see us gain 30 points, leaving just 11 to take us over the 80 point mark, we could even go higher if we pick up a few big away wins but its so key to win all of those homes. We cant afford any results like West Ham, Spurs & Liverpool. We have a fantastic base to build on, very pleased with the depth of our squad in the back 5, sounds like El-Nenny is coming in and hopefully a few more additions, i’d like to see us bring in another forward to support Olivier Giroud.

Its absolutely brilliant to see Aaron Ramsey back in the middle of the park, we’re actually playing with Wingers its so key to keep Theo out there if we can. Mesut Ozil is in the form of his life, Olivier Giroud is consistently contributing both goals and assists to the cause. With the added goals that will come from midfield with Aaron Ramsey, the returning magician that is Alexis Sanchez, hopefully Joel Campbell and Oxlade can chip in, would still 100% want to see another Striker come in. I feel we could be in with a real real chance.

Enjoy the chase, it could be ours in May. It would complete the fairytale story that is Mr Arsene Wenger.

The Arsenal

 

 

 

Warren Ratcliffe

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