On Saturday, Arsenal dropped to 17th on the League table after a 4-3 loss to Blackburn at Ewood Park. So far this season, the Gunners have only secured four points, let in 14 goals and have more cards than any other team.
This is the worst start for Arsenal in 58 years. It should not be surprising, then, that many people are speculating if the Gunners can still manage a top four finish this year. Although it may seem impossible, the top four is still well within reach (at least mathematically).
Arsenal’s recent form is as follows: DLLWL. This order may look familiar to anyone who followed the team last year. At the end of last season Arsenal finished their last five games with the form: LWLLD. Arsenal only managed to earn four points in the last five games of the 2010-2011 season, yet they still ended up in fourth place in the league with 68 points. In 2009-2010, Arsenal also finished their last five games with four points ending with the form: LLDLW. That season the Gunners finished third with 75 points.
This year, Manchester United and Manchester City are off to blazing starts and are expected to prevail in the top two spots. Chelsea is still a strong side and will likely capture third, leaving only the fourth spot open for contention. Many teams are going to be fighting for the coveted fourth place including Liverpool and Tottenham.
Over the past five years, a team needed about 71 points on average to secure forth place. With 33 games left in the season, Arsenal will need to acquire two points a game, on average, in order to have a chance to return to Champion’s League play.
The Gunners have a tricky schedule during their next five game stretch and the results will be telling. If Arsenal can manage to pick up even eight points, they still have a good chance at snagging a place at the top of the table. Wins against Bolton and Sunderland and draws against Tottenham and Stoke should keep the Gunners on pace.
Arsenal’s season is far from over, but the team will need to continue improving. This year, the squad must finish strong. The Gunners have wasted opportunities early and cannot afford to have another weak stretch of games. If the rebuilt team can find a rhythm with their communication, synchronization and attentiveness, Arsenal may just find themselves back at the top.