With their toughest fixtures yet to come, Arsenal may face a battle to reach magic 40 points

Daniel Zeqiri
The Telegraph
Arsenal's season is in a tailspin, but is it about to get even worse? - REX
Arsenal's season is in a tailspin, but is it about to get even worse? - REX

Arsenal's barren run of nine games without a victory in all competitions is their longest since 1977, but that piece of trivia does not begin to tell the full story. The reality is even worse. 

Not only have their previous 11 Premier League games returned a meagre 12 points — a damning spell of form in any context — but Arsenal are reaching the end of their 'easiest' run of fixtures this season. 

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After facing Liverpool and Tottenham before September's international break, Arsenal have played Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Wolves, Southampton and Brighton at the Emirates and travelled to Watford, Manchester United, Sheffield United, Leicester and Norwich. 

At their current pace Arsenal are on course for 48 points, which would be 15 fewer than their worst ever Premier League tally, which came in Arsene Wenger's final campaign 2017/18. 

A modicum of respectability was achieved that season thanks to Arsenal's excellent home form. Only Manchester City's centurion champions bettered Arsenal's 47 points from 19 home games, a rollocking pace of 2.47 points per game.  

Arsenal's away troubles over the past two years are well documented, but they have also stopped putting away the cannon fodder at the Emirates. This season, Arsenal's home form is chugging along at 1.63 PPG, the lowest since 2010/11. 

That rudimentary projection of 48 points does not take into account that Arsenal's fixtures are about to get considerably harder. Just how bad could things get, and is a relegation battle a possibility? 

In contrast to their previous 11 league games, Arsenal's next six opponents at the Emirates are Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Sheffield United, Newcastle and Everton. Their next five away games are at Everton, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Burnley.  

If we substitute Sheffield United for Cardiff City — last season's team promoted as Championship runners-up — Arsenal picked up 22 points from the equivalent fixtures last season when they finished one point from Champions League qualification. 

A repeat of that tally — two points per game — would present a significant uptick in form, particularly given that Sheffield United are better than Cardiff and Chelsea also look a far more dangerous side than last season. 

Arsenal are averaging 1.26 PPG and if even if their rotten form continues that will take them safely beyond the 40-point mark. Four wins or more from the next 11 and mid-table mediocrity beckons, but in their current state there are no bankers for Arsenal. Sheffield United, Newcastle and Everton at home, perhaps? Are they any easier Wolves, Southampton and Brighton, fixtures that have just yielded two points from nine? 

To hammer home just how far Arsenal are behind their pre-season target of a top-four finish: if Arsenal's unbeaten champions of 2003/4 played the remainder of this season's league fixtures with the same rate of success, they would still only reach 73 points. That tally would have achieved a top four finish in just one of the past three seasons. 

If they 'bounce back' to the 1.84 PPG average of last season, they will reach 61 points - nowhere near good enough for Champions League football, worse than Wenger's worst ever season, but at least next season's north London derby will be against Tottenham Hotspur rather than Luton Town. 

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