Is Arsenal finishing in 5th really a sign of progress?

So, as I predicted throughout the season, we didn’t have the mentality to get over the line and qualify for the Champions League.

I was called negative for having that opinion, accused of an agenda for my point of view and at times personally abused for my freedom of speech.

I was big enough to say if I was proven wrong, I would hold my hands up because trust me, the team I love being 4th is bigger than me being correct.

Do I expect certain readers to be humble enough to acknowledge I was right …? Unfortunately probably not.

Arsenal almost clarified their image by scoring 5 against Everton. A team who looked tired at Spurs and Newcastle, suddenly had lots of energy when the pressure was off.

Here’s a myth though.

Not viewing 5th as progress doesn’t mean I want Arteta sacked.

Equally if you rate our manager, that doesn’t mean you need to be a supporter who’s scared to critique anything about the team.

In life as well as sport, there is nothing wrong with having standards and not accepting anyone or anything that fall below those expectations.

I don’t need to see the Gunners be Champions. I just want them to, on and off the pitch, try to be the best versions of themselves. If we had lost at the Lane and the Toon having given our best, then I would have been proud. In reality we didn’t show up. Like we lacked motivation at Palace and home to Brighton.

By giving out contract extensions without knowing what European competition we would be in next season, the Kroenke Family don’t have that zero tolerance.

I have long been baffled by this notion that just because we finished 8th in consecutive years, I now have to view 5th as ‘progress’. I don’t get that theory, given it’s the current regime who were responsible for our worst finish in a quarter of a century.

It hurts me to say that’s a small club mentality. Chelsea, Liverpool and the Manchester clubs wouldn’t reward a manager with a pay raise for 5th.

That’s like Man United this time next year boasting that 5th is a success just because it’s better than 6th.

Or Everton finishing 13th and wanting a pat on the back because it’s an improvement on 16th.

What if Spurs had finished 5th today?

Would you applaud them for progress because it’s an upgrade on 7th?

In 2006 we mocked Spurs for bottling 4th. I don’t remember anyone saying Spurs had made progress based on midtable the year before.

It’s simple, you have a criterion and you either achieve it or not.

Arsene Wenger was mocked for ‘only finishing in the top 4’. When eventually forced out of the Emirates he had finished 5th, then 6th.

If the majority of Gooners are honest, if I had said on Mr. Wenger’s farewell, that 4 seasons later fans would be celebrating 5th, you wouldn’t call that progress, would you?

When Unia Emery finished 5th, It was rightly viewed that he had bottled the chance to finish 4th. Why three years later are some saying different?

If you don’t want to listen to me, listen to the club themselves.

Go back and read the statements the day we essentially sacked our last two bosses, listen to Arteta’s first ever press conference.

Out of his own mouth, Arsenal belongs in the Champions League. I can find you quotes where he said we shouldn’t accept anything else then a title challenge.

He even said this weekend he’s guilty about finishing 5th.

He also boasted this week about how he reduced the wage bill. Increased his own of course.

I prefer the priority to not be saving the owners money, but to do what Conte did in January and demand investment in the squad.

Sorry, I can’t say 5th is progress.

I can’t say 13 league defeats is progress.

26 points behind the Champions isn’t progress.

Part of finding a solution is admitting you have a problem.

The fact that in 2022 we are calling 5th progress; means we have a serious problem.

Dan Smith

Tags Arteta Top Four


  1. I guess technically it is because since MA has been here we went from 8th place to 8th place to 5th place

    But we need to really do well in the transfer market this summer because we have to assume that City, Liverpool, United, Spurs, Chelsea will strengthen too

    1. I think if we compare the competitive nature of the previous season in which Unai Emery took Arsenal to 5th and 8th you would agree with me that seasons after becomes more difficult. Anceloti with his experience and fomer Everton coach and Arteta came in same season to EPL. Yet Arsenal last season was above Everton. Arsenal had youngest group of inexperience players, Arteta cleared a few dead woods and still came 5th is a progress.
      All teams above us had great coaches and players. Man. City (P.Guadiola- Kevin Debrune )Liverpool (J. Klopp-Salah and Main) Chelsea (T. Tuchel-Lukakau) Spuds (Conte-Harry Kane &Son) this are all Champions league/EPL winners before. They also boast of big squad and players in their rank. This are teams Arteta and his players competed against. We also had injury to important players when it mattered most. If Arteta is given enough money to buy more quality players next season then, he can be properly judged. But I think with personel at his disposal this past season 5th seem the best Arsenal deserved.. No team will be able to win EPL without investing in their squad. I wait for The Kronkes would do this summer.

  2. We are rebuilding and fifth is a decent standard to test this young arsenal team against their European opponents in Europa……I love Wenger but he never won any European title even with really good teams. Arteta has been given the opportunity to build another future arsenal and we should support him. The team will change as we move forward towards the league and European titles. This is the beginning and not the end. The owners set the standard for the coaches to meet and I’m sure they rewarded them for it. Criticize but let’s support this young team as they evolve. Let’s not destroy them because they had a bad day at work sometimes. Their wins and loses seem streaky and that’s what you would see with a young team. They will become consistent winners with time and some additions……we are heading in the right direction.

    1. Rightly said John. A journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single footstep. Mikel has taken the first step to root out all negative influences from the club. Dan may be right with the stats but fails to acknowledge
      1. We had no recognised strikers like Kane or players like Salah. Only an insane person would compare Conte to Arteta, as Conte has the likes of Kane & Son. Our response – Lacazette/Eddie or an out of form Auba!!!!!!
      2. Injuries – Partey & Tierney being the usual suspects while their back ups were raw lads with potential so they would be prone to errors in their first season.
      3. For the first time in a decade and half we have a real GK, apart from the comedians (from the silent Mr. Bean to anxious/nervous Faulty Towers we saw them all). Now we have Ramsdale & Turner, this is called progress.
      4. We have real playmakers – Ode/ESR for the first time since Tomas Rosicky departed, apart from a one season wonder, out attack line was helpless for more than half a decade.
      5. From a financial mess, Mikel has flattened the wage graph with real players and not some cranky hanky dory ones enjoying the London city and all that it offers.
      This is not the finished product, this is the start of a special journey for us. Klopp did nit win wonders within a year or two at Pool, he built it from scratch. Same applies to Mikel, we will be successful coming season.

      1. 1. Why don’t we have a striker like that? He’s been here long enough and had enough money but hasn’t sorted out the issue. Managers responsibility

        2. Why aren’t our back-ups better? Lack of rotation and poor transfer activity. Managers responsibility

        3. Ramsdale conceded more than Leno with a better defence in front of him. I do rate him but how can this be if he is so much better?

        4. Agreed but ESR was already there and good before MA arrived

        5. Anyone can give away players and reduce the wage bill. He has actually lost a lot of potential revenue from poor contract management in my opinion.

        Klopp’s first job was not Liverpool and had a history of proven success so a completely illogical comparison.

          1. Absolutely spot on comment. Salah was a steal for Liverpool. Edu and those before him have been lazy and unimaginative in their recruitment.

  3. That’s true.. we have serious problem…
    I don’t what kind of hypnotism or black magic being used by Arteta that suddenly group of supporters and board finding him as a person who can take us forward and accepting that finishing 5th is progress..
    Wenger’s football was far more entertaining and Emery was much more tactician… I don’t know what Arteta offers..
    Also everyone is saying that we have youngest squad in league but does anyone thought why we have youngest squad?? Because managing young group of people are much more easier than players who are already superstars…
    Managing or keeping young players under his fear is much more easier than settled one…
    Does Arteta have balls to manage players and big characters like Lukaku, Ronaldo, Pogba, Hazard??
    Areteta neither has that character and nor any career achievement to stand in front of these men and manage them so that’s why acquiring players who are young and who are not that popular…

  4. It’s not progress at all.

    Arsenal went from 5th (Emery) to 8th, 8th, 5th.

    A team that loses 13 times two seasons in a row does not deserve to enter the Champions League.

    1. The amount of excuses made by the fanbase for Arteta is crazy when such excuses were not made for Emery. Is it because Arteta is on work experience?

      Arteta does not strike me as a manager that can handle personalities hence why he has shipped out Guendouzi, Saliba and Aubameyang, players that might have gotten Arsenal over the top 4 line this season.

      1. The current regime has no clue at all on selling players for decent money either…

        Ozil (free)
        Auba (free)
        Guendouzi (less than £10m it seems, might as well have been free)
        Mavropanos (a few £m, again might as well have been free)
        Lacazette (free this summer?)
        Nketiah (free this summer?)

        1. Let’s see what the club does with all of the players that are likely to return from their loans:

          Pablo Mari

          Plus there is also Trusty (the process) and Turner signings to “be excited” about. Also, Marquinhos. The club has no big name players for the first time in prem history.

          The problems are many. Let’s see what this club can actually do about them

  5. Dan, we bottled it, I feel, the team doesn’t possess right mentality to perform under serious pressure, this is expected of a young side unfortunately, however, we can’t underestimate the progress in our rebuilding process.
    Next season is what I’ll use to judge these lot as I did with Emery project, if we compete well for all 4 trophies I’ll back the manager but if not then it’s not good and should be sacked.
    I know he has been here for over 2yrs but now that he seems to have gotten his project on track and the board backing, it’s time he shows us how he is worthy of the attention and support he got. This is the first time in a long time the fans have serious believe

  6. Well written Dan, the below quote is so accurate:

    “Equally if you rate our manager, that doesn’t mean you need to be a supporter who’s scared to critique anything about the team.”

    I think we have made a little progress overall but nothing to be proud of at all. I base my opinion on the below:

    – Picked up just 4 points from losing positions in the EPL this season, the joint-fewest along with 20th placed Norwich. (shows that we have zero flexibility or Plan B)

    – We lost more than a THIRD of our games in a total season

    – Have a worse goal difference to last season, despite a 5-1 win on the last day.

    – Conceded 9 more goals than last season (with 100mil spent on defence)

    – Played only 45 games in the total season (Spurs played 54 & Liverpool played 63)

        1. I wouldn’t worry too much about domestic cups next season NY!they won’t be a priority for MA and i expect us to exit them at an early stage.

      1. It’s not tue/Wednesday and then Sat/Sun/Monday.

        It is Thursday then Sat/Sun/Mon in a week.

        If we don’t strengthen the team then we are in for a long season…

      2. I can’t wait! Sue.
        Especially with the kids and reserves playing on Thursdays. They will be fit and ready when we get injuries etc…

  7. Progress or no progress isn’t neccessarily the whole issue.
    The fact is, we have struggled to challenge for the title for something like 15 years, despite very few clubs spending more than us.
    Just like Man U haven’t been able to find a new formula for success after Ferguson, we haven’t been able to after the first half of Wengers tenure.
    You can choose to believe in a new plan with a team built on a very young core of players. A plan, which might bring us back into contention in a couple of years, or you can maybe come up with a realistic alternative?

      1. I agree. I am disappointed about the end but over the course of the year I figured we would be below 8th by times. I take the roller coaster as a sign of a young team getting better (we were out of it, in the drivers seat, out of it, faint hope).

        I understand that others don’t share that view but I am going glass half-full.

        This team has not really been a serious contender for a long time and I think that the efforts and the cleaning can make a big difference going forward – there was a lot of rot, hopefully cleared now.

        For me it will be about the business done in the summer and the results next year. I do wonder about his people management skills so this summer does it all for me – how is Saliba treated as well as the other loanees. If he shows some ability to adjust ridged thinking and senior management gets the people needed we should be in good shape.

        We need several expensive pieces so I am not sure how that will work without CL. Strikers, midfield and fullbacks all need quality and/or depth.

        For him to stay we need top four and a very deep run in Europa. If things are bad a Christmas (and I don’t believe that will be the case) then Arteta needs to go then. I don’t think that will be the case but new contract or not, he needs to be on a short leash.

        Key point for me though – this isn’t all on Arteta either, senior management has had a lot to do with our transfer business and such – they need to put up as well, or walk the plank together.

        Top 4 is only going to get harder – MU and Newcastle may take a bit of time but City and Liverpool will be 1-2 again (I shudder to think about City with their new man), Chelsea and Spurs will be right there and then there is West Ham and us plus a likely surprise somewhere. So there are two spots open, not four.

        Have a great summer all and see you in August!

    1. Well said Anders, totally agree with you. State of the club in May 2022 is much better than in June 2018 or November 2019.

      Have you red Nick Wright’s well documented Arsenal article in Sky Sports? “Arsenal fall short in Champions League race but they are well set for future success under Mikel Arteta”.

    2. AndersS ManU has done better than Arsenal since Wenger/Fergie left. They may not have won the title but you can’t compare us to them in the last 5 seasons. I would say they have had relative success considering the rise of City and Liverpool.

      -They ended in top 4 three times, we have 0 times.
      -They’ve consistently been in European competition, we have not.

      17/18 – ManU 2nd / Arsenal 6th (AW last year)
      18/19 – ManU 6th / Arsenal 5th
      19/20 – ManU 3rd / Arsenal 8th
      20/21 – ManU 2nd / Arsenal 8th
      21/22 – ManU 6th / Arsenal 5th

      To answer your question at the end. An alternative would simply be a young core but with at least a few influential, experienced players to join them. The problem is that the young core will not stay together if we are not achieving anything. You can already see Saka’s performances are starting to drop, maybe he’s stopped believing? I just can’t see Saka, Martinelli, ESR, Gabriel all still being here in 3 years time unfortunately.

      We need something sustainable to build on regardless of what players are bought/sold. We now just hope our young core gets us there, what’s plan B if they don’t? Back in the day it was easier to put all your eggs in one basket but nowadays you simply can’t.

      1. @PJ-SA
        Perhaps you should compare how much both clubs have spent in this period of time. I believe ManUnited has spent much more than us.

        Saka is a young player and he has played a lot of games during this season, perhaps he’s getting tired. It’s more likely fatigue than creative fantasies.

      2. PJ-SA
        Since Ferguson left 9 years ago, we have finished above them 6 times in the PL.
        It is academic, who of us havs done best/worst.
        The fact is, they have spent million and utter millions more than us in that period. On player and on countless managers. What have they got to show for it?
        My point is, there doesn’t seem to be any sure recipe for success, and as we haven’t challenged for the title for so many years, I am quite happy to see us with a new approach.
        I would have loved top 4, as it would undoubtedly have been better. But that wan’s make or breake for me. In 10-12 weeks time, we go again, and hopefully the young guns are even better by then, and with a few additions, who knows?

        1. I’m not one to say arteta should be sacked but I think it’s fair to say that the surest route to success is to get a manager with vision, hunger and a proven track record and back them to the hilt by giving them a lot of decision-making power. That’s what has happened with all truly successful teams that I can think of (wenger, mourinho, guardiola, klopp, Ferguson, that goes way further back). One clear reason why emery was doomed is that the club would go over his head for signings, like they did with Pepe, and it’s a big reason utd have been so poor for ages.
          We seem to have learned something by strongly backing arteta, but the thing he’s missing is the proven track record – we still don’t know if his vision is one that can bring success, and we don’t know if he’s capable of making that vision a reality.

  8. Yes, it’s progress. Before the 8th placed finishes Arsenal were clearly in a downward spiral with lots of overpaid, underperforming / old not good enough players. That isn’t the case now, and although the strength in depth is lacking, anybody can see that Arsenal have a young exciting team that should get much better with time and a few more additions.

    It’s disappointing to miss on on Champion’s League next season, but the squad isn’t ready for that yet anyway, and it would have been a waste of time. Still need another 2 transfer windows before that.

    1. “Arsenal were clearly in a downward spiral with lots of overpaid, underperforming / old not good enough players.”

      But somehow managed to win the FA Cup?

      A young exciting team needs time I agree but do you really think we aren’t going to lose some of our best youngsters in the next 2-3 years? No team stays exactly the same and that is now the concern with missing out on UCL again.

    2. We have a youngish, ok team, exciting in patches. The likes of Ramsdale, White, Tomyasu Odegaard and Tierney have three or four years of experience, while Xhaka, Cedric, Partey and Elneny are beyond young. You are hoping that Martinellii, Saka and ESR explode next season which we all are but what we also need is a young exciting manager, who is not a company hack in order to take Arsenal to the next level, which should be beyond middling.

  9. The problem with arsenal is funcking and sluggish family of stan kronke who are like pox with iron zip.even since they took over no progress at all that is why someone is rejoicing over top five very very shameful

  10. Well considering we played fewer games than spur’s, united and still finished outside top 4, is sickening.

    We called every game a final after loosing all cup games, but still lost three finals in a row prior to wins against Chelsea, united, westham and Leeds…loosing to Tothenham was bad but had we won against the toons

    If only we did

  11. Our squad urgently need 5-7 new players and few of them should be established and absolute class. Too bad the Europa League means they’ll have to be 2nd rate players.

  12. If it wasn’t for the key injuries at a key point of the season, we would have got 4th, maybe even 3rd. Mistakes were made, but the was main issue overall.

    1. Our management team should have thought about this happening and got us cover in the January window just incase injuries happened. It’s inexcusable thinking 12/13 players will be ok until the end of the season

    2. The main issue was lack of proper planning, not injuries.

      Every team gets injuries, it’s simply reality and NOT an excuse….or should every manager plan to go a whole season with the same 11 fit?

    3. Jonbo, no it wasn’t and i have asked you twice in your own article questions and you chose to ignore them because it is obvious it is way more than injuries. Why should a couple of injuries make us so poor against Southampton, Brighton, Palace and Newcastle? It was lack of experience and know how at the helm.

      1. What is the downside having a young and inexperienced team Reggie? Do such elite teams tend to be inconsistent? What could be the upside having a young team with talented players? Being patient with them could very well be beneficial, don’t you think. I’m sure we will continue building a stronger squad in the coming transfer window, because our rebuilding process isn’t finished.

        1. But the manager is the problem Didrik, he makes mistake after mistake and is rubbish at problem solving. Its always next time and next year and when we have more experience from people who are accepting mediocrity year after year and this manager is mediocre.

          1. Well, we could have had a better manager or a worse. From my point of view a fifth place in the league is maximum of what you can expect from this squad this season. We could have managed top four but I have said most likely fifth many times.

            State of the club is much better than in June 2018 or November 2019. I believe we have a foundation to build from with potential for future success, and I think Arteta should get another season.

      2. This question to you all –

        Lets say Kane and Son missed the last 8 games. Do you think Conte would have still have got the same amount of points, or more?

        It’s funny, because no one EVER answers this question! I wonder why…

        1. Because its a stupid question no offense meant. Every team has important players who when missed the team suffer. For example Salah and Mane for Liverpool.

          1. So you freely admit that Tavares and Tierney are on the same level then? There’s no difference between Partey and Elneny/Lokonga? Etc

            You also admit that missing both full-backs, and you’re only good midfielder has ZERO effect then?

          2. You example is stupid, because you conveniently forget to mention that Liverpool have loads of world class players, hence the loss of Mane or Salah wouldn’t hurt as much, certainly in the short term.

            Same with City. KDB is the best midfielder in the world, yet City would still be fine without him because their midfield has an insane amount of quality to cover.

            Arsenal have only ONE WC player. Spurs only have two. Take them out, and both teams are easily weakened.

            1. It’s hard to take you seriously because all your points and articles are agenda driven. Pure propaganda. Your object is to defend Arteta regardless of results or facts. You don’t have any other goal.

              Personally I believe you are paid to do that because it does not make sense any other way.

              1. Haha, again you don’t answer my question.

                I’ll ask again, is Tavares on the same level as Tierney? Equally, is Bergwijn on the same level as Kane or Son?

                Clearly you have the agenda, because you refuse to answer very simple questions.

        2. Simple,because it didn’t happen,they didn’t get injured so your question is pointless.i have question,why so many of our key players got injured?some of them straight after coming back from a previous it bad luck? coincidence?or just bad players/squad management?lack of squad rotation?training methods?

          1. Its a hypothetical question.

            Is a team stronger or weaker when multiple key players are missing?

            1. Ours got injured spurs didn’t.

              Spurs also strengthened in January we didn’t and then our injuries happened. What would you call that?

              1. It’s a calculated decision and they decided to wait to the next window, probably to get their main targets. They know the reasons and we can only speculate and have opinions.

              2. What you said is fine, but once that transfer window shut and lets say hypothetically, Kane and Son were injured a for while, do you think Spurs would have still got less, the same, or more points?

                1. Obviously less at a guess. You would have to go through all spurs results and find the games Kane and son scored in and take the goals off and work results off from that.

                  But we didn’t lose strikers as we’ve struggled to score all season even before our 2 players got injured

      3. @Reggie

        I have never said it was just the injuries. Of course there are other elements as well such as a lack of experience, and a poor January.

        My point is that despite all our other short comings, we were doing fine. Playing well, winning lots of games, but we were always 2 or 3 injuries in key areas from being in trouble, and that’s exactly what happened.

        Of course it’s Arteta and the board’s fault for a poor January, I am not denying that. I just find it insane that people can think that injuries make no difference. That if Kane and Son were injured, Spurs still would have got the same or more points. That Tierney and Tavares are on the same level!!!!

        What’s next? TAA has broken is leg, but no worries, Milner for next 10 months will keep the levels the same.

        What is everyone smoking???

    4. Well MA should have planned/anticipated injuries , which are part and parcel of the naive and arrogant to think we could go until the end of season without any injuries,illness or suspensions especially COVID.i read your article in which you blame injuries and not the transfer window for losing top 4 which is in itself a contradiction.i have a simple question for you.what is the purpose of the winter transfer window??

  13. It depends how you look at it. For me it’s the way we lose and how slow we play. And add the fact we had champions league in our own hands and blew it.

    Poor shortsighted management has cost us due to doing nothing in the January transfer window

  14. If any progess has been made, it is not sufficient to say any process is working. We still have had a pretty awful season as far as style/type of footbal, goals let in, goals scored, losses and poor runs in cup competitions. Dress it up however you like it is dire. Pipped again by Spuds, which is starting to get monotonous and the norm. Nothing this season, including the capitulation is anywhere near good enough, especially after the massive investment. The way the contract was given to Arteta smacks of incompetence.

    1. Totally agree with all you say reggie. It’s like everyone is only looking at the position we have finished instead of taking everything into account

      1. Agree Palmer, like Dan says in the article, trying to look for positives and at the same time making out 5th is progress, shows where we are as a club today and i dont like it.

    2. 👍 Spot on, Reggie. Less than 3 years and he’s still managed to finish below 3 different Spud managers.
      But it’s ok, he’s saved Stan a fortune in wages (bar his own). That speaks volumes- at this rate he’ll be here until he retires!! 😆Any other club and he’d have been shown the door a long time ago…

      Are you ready for more of the same next season?!

      1. You get ZERO points when you lose 8-2 or 5-1 and you get ZERO points when you go down fighting 2-1.The bashing and flogging is finally over and thanks to Mikel we were not bashed except for the Leno blunders starting of the season. I’m happy the season is over, and hope we never see Leno, Lacazette, Eddie, Elneny, Pepe wearing our colours again. Hiring the right players is called progress and not getting hoodwinked by agents or pompous players

        1. Hiring or convincing them to stay?!!! 🤣 Sorry to disappoint you but Elneny has signed a new deal and guess who wanted him to stay?

            1. We are most likely paying elneny more than kamara as well. But it’s ok it’s all progress

                  1. It is man and he is still a young player.he should fit the profile of players MA likes no?

                    1. It’s more than likely that villa reacted fastest and we same as anyone else haven’t reacted at all.

                      Sign him for free even if he doesn’t work still sell for profit as he was a free signing.

                      Win win in my book but hey ho

          1. Do you know many players not being negative when not playing? We can not have many players like Elneny but having one or two could be beneficial. Not particularly fan of Elneny, but respect players not running to media after two weeks on the bench. He’s ready when needed

            1. Did I say I was against it? No… he’s a decent squad player. Just read what LC wrote – wanting him gone as he’s not good enough, yet MA wants to keep him!!! 😄

          2. Elneny is a pro and is good cover. He has shown that time and again – no complaining, just doing his job.

        2. The bashing might have stopped but now we lose and get outplayed by the likes of Palace, Brighton, Brentford……the list goes on.

    3. Totally agree!

      Our beloved Arsenal is failing to progress for one massive reason. It’s leadership. What will it take for the fans to realise that this season has not been a success? If next year we finish in 5th position on 72 points (and behind Spuds) would that sill be progress?

  15. I have red your article Dan, but I have also red Nick Wright’s Skysports article about our club, “Arsenal fall short in Champions League race but they are well set for future success under Mikel Arteta”. His article is backed with analysis and do also has a totally different conclusion, which I support.

    From my perspective the future looks bright for the Arsenal, and we haven’t been in a better place for several years. Now we have a team with potential to get better, which I believe will happen. Premier League has never been more challenging and next season will even get more challenging, therefore do we need to use the coming transfer window to build a stronger squad.

    Probably was our paper thin squad the main reason why we didn’t manage top four this season, but I believe we could manage it next season. We are moving in the right direction and state of the club is much better now than in June 2018 or November 2019 🔴⚪️

  16. Yes we had 8 more points than last season but we actually conceded 8 more goals and had a worse goal difference because we didn’t score as many as the previous season. There has been progress in some areas but in other areas we are worse off!

    I keep pointing out also that other teams (Manure, Leicester and West Ham etc.) have been poor. Our final position could have been much worse. If we have made progress, it is only slight in my opinion. Especially when you consider we only played a game a week.

    1. 👍GunneRay, that’s it in a nutshell; however on so many parameters the results were worse.
      The treatment of Mikel Arteta appears different to his predecessors, such that he is coated in teflon. Terry Neil was sacked for losing 11 games in a season, yet 13 losses is acceptable.
      It would be good to know what the performance criteria for next season will be after three seasons of 8th, 8th and 5th and the money to be invested by the Board? What quality of football can the paying punters expect, because this past system has been very inconsistent, with no one knowing which Arsenal will turn up?

      1. They won’t tell so they can shift the goalposts!;)

        And MAs hair is made of Teflon I think!? 🤔

    2. Laca was our top scorer last year but couldn’t hit a barn for this year – that’s the difference

  17. It’s good to be back in Europe, but it’s clear that our squad is not deep enough to win anything. Good players like Saliba, Torreira, Guendouzi and others farmed out. They are better players than some who were playing for us. It seems Arteta wanted ‘his team’. Not bolstering the team in January was criminal. Spurs signings Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Betancur were instrumental in Spurs finishing above us. Clearly a major faux Pas in Arteta’s management. If, and I mean IF we do not not sign at be least 4 quality high end players we are going to be the same. Personally I blame Edu/Arteta for the ruined January transfer window. There is no room for hesitancy now. Maybe players like Gabriel Jesus, Jonathan David, James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, WILLIAM SALIBA, Aaron Hickey, Yves Bissouma would all elevate us one way or the other. Somehow I see last minute panicky signings in August….I hope not. It’s now time for Edu/Arteta to step up to the mark.

    1. that will tell us all Sean! The business this summer is the yardstick. No CL hurts, but money and smarts are needed to get the right pieces, either new or those out on loan who can contribute.

  18. And villa just signed Kamara on a free great little signing that. Shrewd business that we are unable to do

  19. I think you are missing the bigger picture. I actually believe 5th is an over achievement for this squad. We are talking about a squad full of youngsters, a squad on around half the wage bill that it once was. A squad that last year could not even qualify for Europa Conference League has jumped up 2 levels to Europa League.
    Now I am not saying let’s celebrate those facts, all I am saying is we can now build on that progress. Spurs progressed 2 levels from Conference League to Champions League and are celebrating.

    There will be many more departures this summer and there will be many more arrivals too. At the beginning of this season the target was the Top 6 and Arteta got his reward for achieving his target. Next season his target will be Champions League qualification, he has two opportunities to achieve that target next season.

    1. How many of this “inexperienced” squad has not played Premier league or top league before this?

    2. @Atid
      We had 1match a week for a good chunk of the season. We should have finished 3rd…That would have been progress. ( And please, spare me the youngest team, injuries whine)…IJS

      1. Listening to some,you would think that our team is about 10 years younger on average than the other Pl teams.not only that but our team is full of internationals and some are even captains of their national team,so as experience goes we have a pretty experienced squad.also here the table.
        Average age of Premier League teams in 2021/22
        1. Arsenal: 25.01 years

        2. Brentford: 25.42 years

        3. Southampton: 25.71 years

        4. Aston Villa: 26.17 years

        5. Tottenham Hotspur: 26.23 years

        6. Norwich City: 26.36 years

        7. Leeds United: 26.71 years

        8. Manchester United: 27.05 years.

        9. Brighton & Hove Albion: 27.09 year

        10. Manchester City: 27.12 years

        11. Leicester City: 27.28 years
        12. Newcastle United: 27.34 years

        13. Chelsea: 27.70 years

        14. Liverpool: 27.80 years

        15. Everton: 27.88 years

        16. Wolverhampton Wanderers: 27.90 years
        17. Watford: 28.13 years

        18. Crystal Palace: 28.19 years

        19. West Ham: 28.79 years

        20. Burnley: 29.35 years

        1. So our nearest(in ages) direct rival is Spurs with an extra 15 month per man age Quite a lot IMO, AND OTHER KEY RIVALS HAVE STILL MORE . All of which shows your point to be false, IMO

          1. Jon,the point I was trying to make is that the gap is minimal,one year maybe 2(I disagree with you Jon 15 months is nothing)but listening to some you would think the gap to be about 10 years.this “we have the youngest team “argument has been blown up way out of proportionconsidering the experienced players we have which easily makes up for it.the other thing being that the clubs being the closest to us age wise,like Brentford, Leeds, Southampton.. didn’t have a budget that comes even close to ours.

  20. Just depends on your perspective I guess. 5th is better than 8th, so some cite progress.

    However, defense is worse, mentality is still an issue under pressure, no identifiable style of play, and man management continues to be a problem.

    Fair to say we finished 5th, but let’s also mention how other teams were imploding around us to open a path.

    Also noted no goals mentioned for next year either, convenient for progress, aye?

    Wenger and Emery had “4th or the sack” publicly known standard.

    Arteta has had no standard of expectation for 2 1/2 years.

    If there is no standard set by club when next year starts, that will tell you a lot about ambition. If Arteta misses 4th again, will he still have a job?

    I fear top 6 is our new top 4 based on how some fans and Josh Kronke are claiming “success.”

  21. What I dislike about DAN article is not essentially his argument, as I agree with much of it But tht he fails to identify and most of all to STRESS , where ands exactly who the REALCULPRIT really is.

    You see, I have long said that while Kroenke -an absent and uncaring owner, who does not even like football, let alone his(OURS really, though legally his) club, it is unrealistic to expect us to seriously rival the top two teams.

    Some will say he has spent money and he has indeed spent SOME money. But he is in football as an asset owner and not for glory or trophies. THAT HAS BEEN OBVIOUS EVEBNSINCE HE FIRST BOUGHT HIS INITIAL STAKE BACK IN 2007.
    That is why he failed to sack Wengewr when thrteam was going backwards and he hied abd failed to fire the appalling GAZIDIS and stupidly apppointed the appalling and way of of his depth SANLLEHI too. I have more sinsyer comments which I firmlyhold about SANLLAHI – WHO DISAPPEARED ALMOST OVERNIGHT – a to exactly WHY he left in ahurry But in this country we havelibel laws , so on THIS PUBLIC SITE I will go no deeper into that. But I know what I believe and expect to be far from alone on that matter.
    Because I believe in loyalty and patience towards the manager, , most JA Gooners wrongly believe I am an Arteta “fan boy”(whatever they understand by that faintly ridiculous buzz phrase and remember I am almost 71 and have been a fan, not a “fan boy” since I was about 5 and going since 7)
    I have also stated several times that MA was not my original choice and that he is not among the elite global managersw that is plain to all and therefore to me too. But neither are almost all our players not among the global elite and not are many of our online fans.In fact a percentage of our fans are art best League Two standard or lower Sobering thought eh!
    To extend this thought, ther are many who willingly wish to keepo such as Xahaka Elneny, Cedric and that ilk, And then who still expect(or demand in some cases) that we make top four and seriously challenge for the title . So to some fasn it is fine to be totaly unrealistic in players expectations but when it comes to assessing a manager who has many fine qualities- despite not being among the global elite, so far- they daily slaughter him
    Those bad appointments were down to Kroenke, as was his failure to lure Klopp, Pep, AND OTHER GLOBAL ELITE MANAGERS whileWenger was still regressing us. All down to the REAL CULPRIT, KROENKE.

    Eh, Dan Smith, with his measly ” blink and you’ll miss it” tiny mention of Kroenke!
    Good God man, the REAL reason we miss out so often is staring you and us all in the face but you fancy yourself as an astute writer and yet fail to nail the TRUE AND REAL VILLAIN .

    Hardly Hercule Poirot, are you Dan!!

    1. jon,
      1. How much of the available transfer budget has been spent well? and
      2. How well have the Club’s player assets been managed (maximizing profits from sales etc)?
      Kroenke surely needs to see return on investment, to encourage him to allocate more. Not looking good based on the last two seasons.

      1. OZZIE Perhaps it has not occurred to you as is has to me that any owner of any business whose staff, IN THAT OWNERS OPINION, has not managed competently, should be replaced far sooner.

        I am thinking of Wenger, Gazidis, Sanllehi- all financially were club disasters, though definitely not on their own personal club salaries- and none were replaced anywhere near quickly enough, before they could massively financially damage our club.

        And why? Because the owner was remote, absent, uncaring and cared only for the asset value, which was always going to increase as global interest is ever expanding. KROENKE is the REAL PROBLEM and all realists have always known this!

        1. jon, if you remember any of my previous posts over the years, I have consistently stated that KS&E (Stan Kroenke) is responsible for the ultimate performance of the manager chosen to manage the football affairs of Arsenal FC.
          My ongoing point has been that the financial and player asset management of Arsenal FC from Board level down has been abyssmal for some years. One could argue since the departure of David Dean.
          Therefore I agree that the continuing performance of and continuing employment of Mikel Arteta is the accountability of Stan Kroenke and the Board. He must be happy with how the manager spends his money; however giving more doesnt necessary address the underlying problems.

    2. JON FOX,i congratulate you on your amazing comment.honest,truthful,no nonsense,articulate,and,above all, write the truth , while, some others of our age group take every opportunity to look back over the past with rose tinted glasses. dotage is what i suppose i would call that kind of opportunism, but ,you always call it as it is .i have decided to be very quiet on here recently because i am always putting my foot in it,i am not an angry person, despite what some might think on here.progress is progress, even if we are taking only baby steps, we are going in the right direction. i am not an arteta fan by any means, but we have to give him a chance, i believe him to be an honourable man, and, i do think, now, that he will bring us to another level, if he can extract the funds from stanley.

    3. Jon 100 percent agree
      Under current owners we will never win title
      To be fair I have wrote my opinions about Koronke’s but am accused of having an agenda

  22. holdings defending 4 evertons goal he’ll do it week in week out clear the ball ffs

  23. Jon, please note that i am agreeing with every word you have said.
    the route cause of our pitiful demise, has to be and always has been at the feet of the owners who have mismanaged our club for a decade or more.
    we have been in free fall ever since they took over
    and no matter what manager who would have came in after AW, would have struggled to get us back on track for a top 4 place.
    UE who i have said before is a good manager but just was not a good fit for us at the time struggled and a lot of you also mentioned that he got us to 5th and was sacked.
    reason being, he lost the dressing room. his run of results leading up to the end of the season and the start of the new season before MA took over was terrible.
    i agree Dan we have a mental problem on seeing results over the line, which is still down to the manager and certain senior players.
    a lot of opinions can be made if we had a successful season or not but we finished where we deserved to finish 5th. as with City 1st, pool 2nd, chelslski 3rd and that team up the road 4th.
    the table does not lie after 38 games.
    I am personally gutted we could not get 1 more win from the previous 2 games b4 the Everton game as i said 72 pts get a CL spot and i had been banging on about we will finish 4thif not 3rd. Dan i will eat humble pie and agree with you that we were not strong enough mentally to see it through.
    the great thing is, the season is over, the pain of missing out on a top 4 spot is subsiding and we start again
    onwards and upwards and we now sit top of the league alphabetical

    1. If MA hadn’t been allowed to get rid of so many players for nothing,he would too have lost the dressing -room or a mutiny would have taken place.that’s the difference with Emery,he barely had any say on the players/transfers,he didn’t even get the players he asked for,forget about trying to get rid of those he didn’t want.

  24. Alan It is probably for the best in some ways that we miss CL. WE DO NOT HAVE THRE SQUAD TO GET FURTHER THAN THE GROUP STAGE and IMO will not have even by next August.
    Also we have a decent chance to win the EUROPA BUT NONE WHATSOEVER TO WIN THE CL.
    We plainly need another two windows to strengthen enough for CL. All in good time and unlike some on here, I BELIEVE YOU CANNOT RUSH AND STILL BUILD GOOD FOUNDATAIONS FOR LONG TERM FUTURE PROGRESS.

    1. jon
      it is a catch 22 situation
      not good enough to win it but needed to be in for the money so ensure we have sufficient funding for next season
      the difference in money coming in from the Europa and CL is so vast plus the calibre of players you are able to attract will also show us that you need to be in it, if not to win it but to better ourselves.
      i for one would rather be in it then out of it.
      it will break my heart knowing the spuds are in it and we are not

    2. Unfortunately, jon the Club forgoes £30-£50 million by missing the Champions League. Also jon I await your comments on my response to your comment about my “lack of awareness” to the Kroenke impact.

  25. Dan, I am with you on this one (as I have been throughout)

    We have finished with 8 more points, won 4 more, drew 4 less and lost exactly the same as last season.

    In addition we scored 6 more, and conceded 9 more goals than last season.

    So is this the substantial progress that a few on JA bang on about?

    Sorry, I just don’t see the swing and see it as consistent to Areta’s regime. Stagnant!!

    This is his best season in 2.5 years now if you compare this to Emery’s first season, we have won 1 more, drew 4 less and lost 3 more. We scored 12 less and conceded 3 less. And that is with all the ‘deadwood’ and the ‘toxic’ players.

    At least the football on show was entertaining then, but for all the ‘progress’ that we have allegedly made, it has been a hard and painful watch.

    To be honest, I am glad the season is over 😬

    1. Spot on, NB. Did you drown your sorrows yesterday (end of season pi$$ up) or to hell with it all ?! 😄

      1. Lol Sue, yes I did and it was full deserved this season as well. We also went for our end of season Doner. Still tasting it today😱

        Got hom very late last night to be greeted to some baskets writing ‘Spursey’ on my car window in shaving cream and spud flags in my letter box. Aw, bless em’

          1. 🤣🤣
            Nah, I think I knew it was coming but I was too pished to find my keys to let myself in. Mrs Bender gave me the flags and told me too look at our ring doorbell. Allegedly I got away with it as she caught them and told em to duck off and grow up. 😉

            So how did you end the season, Sue?

            1. Good on Mrs Bender 😄 I watched City v Villa – couldn’t find a stream for our game, besides I was still po’d over Monday night. Knew we’d turn up though; as there was nothing riding on it (frustrates me even more 😬)

  26. This season is not a success because we failed to make top4.
    We couldn’t managed to get a replacement for Auba in January and we had a too thin squad to keep competing when injuries (inevitably) happened.

    It’s a big blow because it will be a lot harder to attract talented players with no CL football next season.

    That being said no need to throw the baby out with the bath water. We were top4 contenders until the very end even without having a top striker or much competition for starting places in the team.

    Lots of work to do for Kroenkes, Edu and Arteta this summer to address this season’s shortcomings and achieve top3 or top4 next season.

  27. the Apologist Law firm is out in full force today…it was inevitable considering what ultimately transpired standings-wise yesterday…some good points DS

  28. 13 losses include teams we should have beaten, apart from City and Liverpool the rest of the PL was terrible, I am still waiting to see this so-called work in progress, and what players we bring in, but I feel he sometimes doesn’t have it and I wonder what the players really think about Arteta and his tactics, but he made some terrible mistakes in the selection, not strengthing the team in Jan was a huge mistake and really showed him up to be so inexperienced in decision making, the situation with Saliba is terrible, just won young player of the year in France would be so better than Holding, I wonder if Arteya allows his feelings to cloud his judgement, but next season will be the make or break

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