Posted on February 15, 2017 by ADMIN

Could Arsenal really drop out of the Top Four this season?

Arsenal averted a full-blown crisis by returning to winning ways in the Premiership with a win over Hull last weekend. They are clinging to a top four place but once again they far from guaranteed a place at Europe’s top table next season.

Since he took over in 1996, Arsene Wenger has never failed to finish in the top four as Arsenal boss. In that time, no other English club has appeared in the Champions League every season. It is a remarkable record and one he should be proud of, even if he did anger fans a few years ago, amid a 10-year trophy drought, when he referred to finish fourth as “a trophy”. But now, in what could be his last season in charge at The Emirates, he faces the distinct possibility of failing to maintain his 100% record. Many will laugh at such claims: Arsenal always make the top four, it’s what they do, they never win the league any more but they always make the top four, either by starting poorly and finishing well, or starting well and ending the season by capitulating. They have flirted with failing to achieve top four status several times, notably in 2012-13, when they pipped arch-rivals Tottenham by a point right at the death, back in the days of Mind the Gap and Lasagne-gate. But Wenger, despite the many near misses and failures of the past decade, has always clung on to that stat, of always making the top four.

But this season things look decidedly more competitive. Chelsea are running away with the league title, but below them five teams are separated by just four points, with Man City second on 52 on Man Utd sixth on 48. With just 13 games to play, it really is squeaky bum time. Arsenal are currently fourth, below Spurs on goal difference, a point ahead of Liverpool and two ahead of Utd.

But the bookmakers don’t think they can cling on. Just like many pundits, the bookies are once again writing Arsenal and Wenger off. They have been proved wrong time after time, but they have made Arsenal fifth favourites. Football odds on who will finish in the top four have Chelsea as understandable 1/500 favourites, followed by Man City at 1/8, Tottenham at 4/9 and Liverpool at 8/11. Only then do you come to Arsenal, who are 10/11, followed by Man Utd at 6/5.

So the bookies think Man City are all but assured of a spot, Tottenham will hold onto their place and Liverpool will pip Arsenal. Gooners will be desperately hoping they are wrong. If Wenger were to finally leave in the summer, when his contract ends, the new manager would be able to attract a higher calibre of player, and have more money to spend, if they were playing Champions League football next season. Even if Wenger stays, Champions League football will allow him to bolster his side. Spending is never guaranteed with Wenger, and they are unlikely to win the Champions League any time soon, but being counted among Europe’s elite helps.

What of the other contenders? City certainly seem rejuvenated since the arrival of Gabriel Jesus and they do have the slender advantage going into the home straight. Tottenham have been great defensively and are very strong at home. Liverpool played great football as they beat Spurs last time out. And Man Utd are unbeaten since December, a run that has seen them make up eight points on Wenger’s men.

Arguably Mourinho’s side are one of the biggest threats. They are bang in form, the defence is looking solid and they are grinding out wins. But Liverpool can surely be overhauled. They are abysmal in defence. That win over Tottenham will give them belief, but it was their first of 2017 and it papers over cracks. And Spurs, who looked so formidable in January, are showing signs of imploding once more and finishing below Arsenal again. City’s defence is also woeful and if they buck up their ideas, Arsenal could well finish second still. They have a big squad, a real match winner in Alexis Sanchez and the ability to capitalise on the shortcomings of their rivals, and should still finish above Liverpool and one of the others.

Will Wenger prove everyone wrong again and manage to continue his Top Four record?

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11 thoughts on “Could Arsenal really drop out of the Top Four this season?

  1. Dee@ease

    Fans on just arsenal said Draxler wasn’t good enough for us but since he’s been at PSG he’s been amazing

    1. Break-on-through

      I seem to remember that the majority wanted us to sign him for something like two or three seasons now.

      1. Arsenal007

        Luis Enrique has won 8 trophies since becoming manager in 2014.
        I bet he’ll not survive the sack if he loses out of the round of 16.
        That’s a Board with ambition.

        1. Break-on-through

          I didn’t say he wouldn’t. I hate our board too.

          If I was gonna bite and then try some type of positive spin, I’d point out how we topped that group, drew with the masters of Barca’s downfall. Yes they deserved to win the two matches, but it’s results that count, no-one knows that better than an Arsenal fan.

          In truth, big difference between a knockout game and playing in a mini league that you know you’ll get through in. PSG were delicious and I fear Alexis is contemplating the move more so, he could probably imagine getting revenge with them.

  2. G-Rude

    Of course Arsenal will finish in the Top Four! That’s what we do.
    We would be more certain if we had have bought Draxler I agree, but only because I am extremely worried that Alexis is going to get injured, or drop his form like Ozil.

  3. marty53

    If we continue to play as we have been for the last few months then I think it’s entirely possible we won’t finish in the top four. The good thing is that the teams at the top all have to play each other so it’s imperative we win the games against mid/bottom table teams and not just play them as if a win is a foregone conclusion.
    Maybe it will do us good not to play in the CL for a year, I don’t buy it when they say you can’t sign top players if not in CL, Chelsea & MU still signed tip players this season.

  4. Onochie

    Saying that we should be proud of being in the UCL since 1996 is very delusional,what’s the point of constantly being in a competition without making an attempt to win it? It is surprising that this same management and Wenger haven’t won the league with the players they assembled themselves.

    1. Break-on-through

      You got to admit, that is some weird consistency. You look at every teams graph, and you see up and down lines, then you look at ours and the thing barely budges.

      1. bran99

        rather have the ups and downs and a cabinet with some stuffs to be proud with, rather than the so called consistency but having a dusty cabinet. success is measured by trophies, not the money you make or constant participation in the UCL.. there is a reason Wenger called 4th position a trophy

  5. Break-on-through

    I think some people take it for granted even though they say that it means nothing to them. Then go berserk when it looks like we won’t even do that. We almost missed it a couple times, from spu challenge. Now that it could be manu or city we fight it out with, yes we could absolutely miss out. I know some people won’t like me talking this way, saying miss out on fourth, I understand that but I’m just answering the question honestly. It’s hard to call, spu don’t look as hot as some people were talking, same goes for pool, so it might not even be manu or city we fight it with in the end. It would be interesting to see if Arsenal’s luck would hold out with it coming down to a test of nerves between us and manu.

  6. Jansen

    We will not finish in the top 4. Or at least for me that is the most realistic expectation management of myself. Although possible, I don’t see any reasonable expectation that all of sudden our performances against top 6 or 7 teams will pick up. If our results against top 7 teams remain they have been thus far, it seems difficult to envision a path to a top 4 place.

    For one, when has Mourinho made a habit of losing to Wenger in the PL? They are only 2 points behind us at the moment. Spurs are dangerous, City unpredictable and Liverpool could pop out of their crisis anytime. To keep 2 of those teams behind us is going to require some victories against them. I don’t see that happening although anything is possible.

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