Has our defending cost Arsenal the League title?

How many points have Arsenal dropped from winning positions in the Premier League? by SE

Arsenal didn’t enjoy a slick start to their 2014/15 campaign, as the attack failed to flourish while the defense was conceding goals cheaply and, as a unit, it has taken the North Londoners quite a while to click into gear. Arsene Wenger’s men had accrued just 23 points from their first 15 Barclays Premier League fixtures, which was because of the rearguard’s failure to keep the opposition out from scoring. Over the course of the season so far, how many points have the Gunners dropped from winning positions?

In their third Premier League game of the season, which was against Leicester City, Arsenal took a first-half lead through an Alexis Sanchez’ goal in the 20th minute. Laurent Koscielny, though, had suffered a head injury before the goal was scored and was heavily bandaged. He came on soon after, but the Frenchman could not rise up to a nicely delivered cross, which was headed in by Leonardo Ulloa to bring the game back on level terms, from Jeffrey Schlupp on Arsenal’s right-hand-side. The visitors that day could not breach Kasper Schmeichel for the second time, and dropped two vital points after taking the lead.

Right after the draw against Leicester, Arsenal welcomed Manchester City to the Emirates, with neither side really enjoying enviable starts to their respective campaigns. Manuel Pellegrini’s men took the lead through Sergio Aguero’s calmly taken goal in the first half. The hosts, though, hit back strongly in the second 45 minutes, as Jack Wilshere and Sanchez scored 2 goals in 12 minutes to put their side into the lead. But, again, the defense failed to cope with a corner-kick delivered by Aleksandar Kolarov, only for Martin Demichelis to power his header into the top corner of Wojciech Szczesny’s goal, to deny Arsenal of all three points.

Arsenal had won just 2 of their first 7 Premier League games before Hull City turned up at the Emirates. Steve Bruce’s side, with all their energy and desire, gave the Gunners a run for their money, but Sanchez scored a delightful goal from a difficult angle to put his side ahead in the first half. The Tigers, though, came roaring back soon after, equalizing just 4 minutes later, through Mohammed Diame’s controversial goal. Hull then took the lead early on in the second half, as Per Mertesacker’s defensive positioning enabled Abel Hernandez a free header on goal to cause plenty of head ache for Wenger & company. Danny Welbeck’s late, late equalizer salvaged a point for the hosts.

A similar story ensued at Swansea, which hosted the Gunners in Gameweek 11 of the ongoing Premier League season. Sanchez, who was Arsenal’s man-in-form at that stage of the season, put his side ahead just past the hour mark, but Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick and Bafetimbi Gomis’ header in a space of 4 minutes, saw Arsenal drop another 3 points.

Arsenal were involved in an epic battle against Liverpool last December, with both sides looking for some sort of momentum to get their league campaign back on track. Philippe Coutinho put his side into the lead right on the stroke of half-time, but Mathieu Debuchy, playing as a centre-half that night, came up with a well-placed header to put his side back on level terms. Wenger’s wizards were the better of the two sides in the second half and Olivier Giroud put them ahead, with half an hour of the game still to be played. Martin Skrtel, an Anfield warrior that night, rose up tall in stoppage time and powered an unstoppable header that salvaged a point for his side, keeping Arsenal at bay from registering a win against the fellow big boys of the Premier League.

In February, Arsenal travelled to White Hart Lane to face North London derby rivals Tottenham Hotspur. They were easily the better of the two sides in the first half and deserved to be in front after Mesut Ozil’s acrobatic finish, which came as a result of Danny Welbeck’s speed and industry to beat Danny Rose on Spurs’ left-hand-side. Wenger’s team then stopped playing, relying heavily on the counterattack to trounce Tottenham. Mauricio Pochettino’s side, though, with Harry Kane playing so well and scoring two second half goals, came from behind to win the North London derby.

A whopping 14 points have been dropped by Arsenal so far in the Premier League, as a result of some sloppy errors made by the defense. The loss against Swansea City, and draws home and away to Manchester City and Liverpool, respectively, would have hurt Wenger more.


Tags kane Koscielny Swansea


  1. JAmerican says:

    Inconsistency or not showing up cost us the title with a sprinkle of injuries and not completing the squad last summer…

    1. davidnz says:

      The title is not lost yet.
      But you make good points.
      Plus Chelsea is a decent outfit.
      I also think the club as a whole
      Owner Board Management players + fans
      still do not really believe we can win the EPL.
      So getting 2nd is really important to finally
      break the 4th is good enough mode.

  2. Robin Vanpayslip says:

    Wenger should have bought in another defender in the summer. That is the defining issue of this season as we spent too many games without a real defence.

  3. Hafiz Rahman says:

    Defence, attack and DM cost us

    1. Champagne Charlie says:

      and GK…

  4. SUNNY13 says:

    I think the Injury is costing us the title in the last two season. Last season if we had Ramsey playing all the matches, we would have have the title by march.
    This season if we had Giroud and OX played all the matches , then we would have been at the top . Defence was poor early on , but our strikers would have carried us forward had they been fit.
    This injury issue is the major reason and not Wenger. We can easily say that why he did not buy, but there ate many things behind it. Yes I agree some what with wenger along with ever one knowing the Arsenal’s injury record woulh have bought few players, but i guess 70% reason is luck on injury

    1. Nokia810 says:

      but the injury problem IS wenger’s fault

  5. sparkles says:

    Part of the blame should go to Wenger for failing to bring in a Defender last summer. A fair portion of the blame should also go to Per as he sometimes appears to be the weak link in the defence. All those are bygones now, let’s push on and finish above Man City. COYG

    1. True.Gooner says:

      And some of the blame should go to szcz and flamini for the part they played

  6. dragunov762mm says:

    Well delivered. If we’ve got all that 14 points we should be the league leader by now. But now, it’s not about IF as we fix our defensive problem, but it’s about how we can maximize the rest of the games. The imperious Mou has claimed that the race was over after their bottle neck saga against Hull City. Can’t understand where was that statement came from after their shaky unconvinced performances. The “invincible wanna be” Mou sides dropped 14 points from January till now. With just 9 points above ManShit and 10 points from us and 9 games still to play for, the title race it’s far from over. They still have to fight against Arsenal, ManUre, Spuds, and L’pool in up coming fixtures. We’ve to collect all points remain to be what we’re going to be. With some slips of Chelsea (let us wish together), could find us celebrate with the league title in May. Finger cross. COYG!!!

    1. truegunner12 says:

      Didn’t think it was possible to forget but Chelsea already played Spurs. Gary Cahill hasn’t been the same since, seriously.

  7. davidrusa says:

    I agree with Sunny 13 that a combination of factors and not just the defence might have cost us the title this season. I feel that if Giroud, Walcott, Oxlade, Koscielny, Debuchy, Ozil, Arteta, Wilshere and Ramsey had been fit all season Arsenal would have been miles ahead of the opponents. The defence itself was affected by the general injuries which afflicted the team. If our strikers had all been fit we wouldn’t have failed to score and win many of the mentioned matches. A weak strike force exposed our defence to ferocious counter attacks. Similarly a gap in the midfield when Arteta was injured greatly exposed us until the experiment of Coquelin proved the greatest fortunate trial of all time. Is it a coincidence that since the return of our players from injury the team has been doing very well. Where are all those theorists about Arsenal’s weak defence? Other than Gabriel which other defender did we buy? Which ‘world class’ striker have we acquired? Some of us have all along argued that our problem was not acquisition of more players every time the team performed poorly but keeping our players fit and adding players where we actually needed them. Everyone can now see that this was the correct assessment.

  8. misoko_gooner says:

    Imagine playing @ some point Per & Monreal, Per & Chambers, and Flamini ahead of them Lol! That was suicidal in my Opinion, then Flamini thank lord we Got LE COQ, GABRIEL, KOSCIELNY, and Monreal playing @ LB, we might win the League!!

  9. fred cowardly says:

    Yes, especially 1st half of season

    Also not enough goals or rather not taking advantage of goal scoring opportunities.

  10. No10 says:

    Combination of factors really but the key lies in the CB and DM positions. Without the silly points dropped against Leicester, Pool, Stoke and others we could be at the top.

    Same goes for the ECL.

  11. SaveArsenal says:

    Wenger is 100% to blame.
    He is the man who didn’t have anyone playing in the right way in Le Coq’s position.
    Also persevering with Arteta in a defensive position when he was so obviously out if his depth.
    Persevering with Per when everyone in the world (including Per who retired from international duty) could see he was done.
    Those things alone have cost us the title and every one of them is 100% down to Wenger!

    Wenger owes our position to one man, Coquelin, if he hadn’t come back we would have lost a lot more games, our goals would have been cancelled out.
    Wenger got very very lucky because his planning for this season was incredibly poor.

  12. muda says:

    1. Injuries
    2. Per Mertesacker
    3. Sir szczesny
    4. Starting season without another CB and DM (gab n Le coq for example
    5. Arsene wenger (selection and tactics)
    6. Bad luck

  13. True.Gooner says:

    Change of formation also caused it

  14. supertuur says:

    Arsenal had too many attackers especially on the wings that were not used. Podolski, Campbell, Sanogo. Plus we had not many defensive players to take on injuries of Debuchi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Monreal, Hayden. We had to rely on Chambers & Bellerin both 19 years old and play Monreal in a position he is not familiar with.

    The buying of Gabriel, the rediscovery of Coquelin plus the up and coming talent of Bellerin have helped us a lot lately. Let us learn a lesson and get another good CDM & CB to cover us. We need to be able to stand through 3-4 injuries at the same time in our defense.

    Koscielny’s problem can resurface again next season so let us be prepared.

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