So close and yet so far from UCL football

Well, not that far really for Arsenal and their fans with Europa League football on Thursdays in the Emirates thanks to a fifth-place finish. It was an uphill battle from both north London clubs but unfortunately the white side won the show-off rights to Champions League football the following season.

Not sure if this is a run they want to forget, but certainly a campaign Mikel Arteta and his Gunners want to build on after missing out on fourth place. What began as the Gunners’ worst start to a Premier League season in 67 years has slowly turned into their best run.

In their first three opening games, which included an opening-day loss to Brentford, Arsenal lost all their games, conceding nine goals (a 5-0 loss to Manchester City) and not scoring a goal themselves. Those were bad times and after that came the usual cries for Arteta’s head.

Luckily the board kept their faith in him and things improved quickly; Coupled with a confidence-inspiring 6-0 win over West Brom in the second round of the EFL Cup, the north London side got on their bikes and started their longest unbeaten run of games for 2021/22.

Arsenal’s Premier League Stats

  • Games played: 38
  • Wins: 22
  • pulls: 3
  • Losses: 13
  • Goals for: 61
  • goals against: 48
  • Goals scored per 90: 1.58
  • Goals conceded per 90: 1.24
  • Clean Sheets: 13

After a rather embarrassing run against his former club, Arteta managed to lead his team to a 10-game unbeaten streak; Draw 2 and win 8. This was then stopped by another top six club, Liverpool, who beat them 4-0 at Anfield.

Her longest winning streak was five games without dropping a single point. However, the Gunners were nowhere near their peers in quality. Against the usual English top five clubs, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, United and Spurs, they managed to win just three of the 10 games played between them and others vying for the same spot.

The Gunners failed in their cup runs

FA Cup: Result of the third round against Nottingham Forest
EFL Cup: Semi-final out against Liverpool

What was really disappointing was their early exit from the FA Cup, the trophy they love to win. Having played less football than many of their peers due to a lack of European competitions, one could imagine that they are fully focused in their quest for fourth place and driven towards fourth.

The EFL Cup has always been difficult playing against a club higher up in the table who are certainly a few years ahead of them. Eliminated by Liverpool in the semifinals? Not such a bad run.

All in all: It was a decent series of results, coupled with many setbacks that the manager had to struggle with at times; But compared to the 2020/21 season, they secured a European place for next season and finished two places up with more points collected and more goals scored – the only downside – they conceded more goals.

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