A month and a half ago Arsenal were playing for two cup competitions, whilst languishing ten points behind Tottenham in the league, with what looked like a slim chance of finishing within the Champions League qualifying places.
Today, through an astonishing run of form, the club sit just a point behind Tottenham in the league but have been removed from both the Champions League and the FA Cup.
This blog speculated that the Arsenal would have a tough away game at Sunderland in the FA Cup following the first leg of the Champions League second round in the San Siro, and this was correct. Indeed, the previously mentioned European hangover came into effect, and Arsenal went out of both competitions.
In conjunction with this analysis, we also provided an analysis of Arsenal’s form over the last six years in the final 14 league games of each season.
This analysis revealed that, on average, Arsenal took 25 points over the final 14 games of each season since 2006. This equates to 1.78 points per game on average in the final 14 games. Arsenal have now played four games of those 14, and due to a stunning run of form have taken 3 points per game, equating to 12 points.
To continue, the previous article stated that to have a chance of achieving fourth place, a minimum target of 70 points was feasible.
After the results against Sunderland, Tottenham, Liverpool and most recently Newcastle, the club has continued an excellent run of form, which also included the near come-back against AC Milan 3-0 in the Champions League.
The run of results has meant that the gap between Tottenham and Arsenal has been reduced to one point, and the atmosphere around the club is one of hopeful recovery.
Arsenal now stand on 52 points, making a 70 point target much more feasible from the remaining 10 games. To achieve this, the club must average 1.8 points per game, so far this season they have averaged 1.85.
Maintaining a run of form can be a precarious business, and as always each game can prove a turning point. The club face Everton, recently rocked by a Steven Gerrard hattrick in defeat to Liverpool, and then subject to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup against Sunderland. The performance by Arsenal could have greater bearing on the ‘business end of the season’.
Arsenal’s base aim for this season is clearly now to secure qualification for the Champions League, maintain credibility as a ‘big club’ in England in order to secure the services of Robin Van Persie in a new contract, and finally to finish above Spurs if possible as London’s top club.
The European Hangover appears to have been vindicated by the result at Sunderland in the FA Cup, will the 70 point target, and the 1.8 point average also hold true?