The end of the 2011-2012 season saw Arsenal finish strongly – in terms of position in the EPL table – and importantly beat Tottenham to the final Champion’s League spot. Finishing above Tottenham gave Arsenal fans bragging rights against their north London rivals and proved very crucial as Chelsea won the CL and (cruelly) denied Redknapp a berth in the CL and ultimately cost him his job at Tottenham.
If we look at Arsenal’s performance in the table shown below, in its last 6 games in 2012 we can observe a poor finish indeed. 6 points out of a maximum of 15 – less than 50% conversion rate – with a loss against Wigan and draws against Stoke and Norwich was simply awful. Sharing points with a team of Chelsea’s caliber in the EPL is acceptable to say the very least but in reality there were 2 points lost if we take into account the West London club’s inconsistent form last season.
|Game Number||2011-2012 Opponent||Points Scored||2012-2013 Opponent||Points Scored|
|24||Blackburn (H)||3||Liverpool (H)||1|
|27||Liverpool||3||Aston Villa (H)||3|
|30||Aston Villa (H)||3||Reading (H)||3|
|32||Manchester City (H)||3||Norwich (H)||3|
|35||Chelsea (H)||1||Man Utd (H)||?|
|37||Norwich (H)||1||Wigan (H)||?|
|TOTAL||33 (45)||TOTAL (As of April 15th)||22 (27)|
Table: Arsenal's last 15 games and point results from 2012 and 2013. (H) Indicates home games.
SOMETHING-FAMILIAR? OR PERHAPS NOT!
2013 has been a familiar year for the Gunners in terms of disappointments. It is also eerily similar to the season of 2012 when Arsenal came from behind in standings and finished the season 3rd behind the
Manchester clubs with a 19 point deficit and more than double the goal difference. Arsenal’s GA of 49 in 2012 was worse than the 13th ranked Sunderland (46).
Arsenal’s GD in 2013 at this stage (29) is much better when compared to the Manchester clubs’ GD this year and Arsenal’s own last season’s GD of 49. And believe it or not they have scored more goals this year than ManCity and Chelsea! In fact only MANU has scored more goals this season in EPL than Arsenal. This is indeed a marked sign of improvement and bodes well for the fag end of this season.
TO THE FINISH LINE
With games against bottom dwellers WIGAN and QPR and relegation threatened Newcastle, Arsenal should finish really strong and ruthlessly and banish the memories of another trophy-less season. This would in turn attract top talent in the summer that would help the Gunners contend next season for all trophies.
The game against MANU can be a huge confidence booster if we come out atleast with a point (as an optimistic Gooner I sincerely want Arsenal to come out with all 3 points, but as a realist Gooner I predict a strong performance and a win or a draw).
The 3rd spot is Arsenal’s for the taking and the 6 remaining games will surely have an impact on next season as well and the interest Arsenal generates to the top free agents this summer. Here’s to Arsenal lifting a few trophies next season – the big ones!