Arsenal FC: Positives from the Gunners' 2013-14 Premier League Campaign

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Arsenal FC: Positives from the Gunners' 2013-14 Premier League Campaign
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It would be an understatement to say that Arsenal have had a roller-coaster 2013-14 season.

It all started on a low note, when Arsene Wenger failed to justify his lack of summer activity as his side slumped to a 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season.

What followed was a nine-game unbeaten run which included wins over Spurs and Liverpool—oh, and the £42 million deadline day signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid. From the opening-day loss to early December, Arsenal picked up 34 out of 39 possible points, playing some stunning football along the way.

Few people expected the Gunners to mount any type of serious title challenge, but they managed to stay at the top of the table for 128 days—longer than any other team.  

Some might view that statistic as a negative, and question how the once-league-leaders could let the title slip out of their grasp so catastrophically. 

But really, the fact that Arsenal topped the table for so long should make Gunners fans look back on the 2013-14 season with fondness rather than with regret.

That's not to say there aren't any "what-ifs"—there's no doubt that all Arsenal supporters are wondering what would've been if Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott hadn't picked up injuries, or if Arsene Wenger had purchased a striker in the January transfer window.

Putting hypotheticals aside, though, Arsenal's title challenge should be seen as a sign of progress. Arsene Wenger's side hasn't had a real go at the title since the 2010-11 season, where they also ended up finishing in fourth place. 

The Gunners' fourth-place finish, however, is more than what meets the eye. While it may be Arsenal's sixth fourth-place finish in the last nine seasons, the gap between the North London outfit and first place is vastly smaller this season than it has been in past campaigns.

Arsenal finished just seven points behind champions Manchester City, and seven points above fifth-placed Everton. That's a huge improvement when you consider that they finished a whopping 16 points and 19 points behind the champions in the 2012-13 and 2011-12 seasons, respectively.

While there have certainly been ups and downs in Arsenal's 2013-14 Premier League campaign, here are some positives to take from the last nine months.

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