If Arsenal had sacked Mikel Arteta after the embarrassing defeat to Everton in mid-December, which left them at 15 position, the new manager would have been praised for their upturn in fortunes.
However, the Gunners did not sack their former captain. Instead Arsenal’s performances improved and their results prove that.
Now we are in May, and Arsenal are just behind the two Manchester clubs in the league table since Christmas. They have been actually better than Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea by two points, Leicester City by five points and Liverpool by nine points.
And if you consider the matches the Gunners should have won, like the Wolves away, Fulham and Everton both at home, it could have looked even better.
Just imagine if we had a firing Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and a good number 10 since day one of the 2020/21 campaign. Guess who played their first game for us against Chelsea…
The importance of a No.1️⃣0️⃣ is crucial to the team! 🔥🤯 pic.twitter.com/OWEzaJhWqQ
— Arsenal Inside (@arsenalinside_) May 21, 2021
This team would have been way up the league table. Although these are mere assumptions, it shows that not everything is going out of plan under Mikel Arteta.
Do a bit of maths you will come to the conclusion that Arsenal have amassed 1.91 points per game(PPG) since Christmas. Extrapolate the number, and you will find out that the Gunners would still have just 73 points in a 38 game season.
Although that’s not an exceptional number, the London side would probably finish second this season with that points tally. In the previous three seasons, that would guarantee them a third place. Which means Champions League football.
But a season is not played from Christmas. It is played from August. Mikel Arteta’s squad must show consistency and quality from day one if they have any ambition to be back among the big boys.
And a lot will be down to the time on the training pitch and the resources the Arsenal manager will have on his hands.
After the loss to Everton, if you had told an Arsenal fan that they would have a chance of playing European football next season with a game left, they would have laughed at your face.
But here they are.
Arsenal currently lie at ninth position, just a point behind seventh and eighth placed Tottenham and Everton respectively.
While Sp*rs play Leicester, who desperately need a win to have any chance of playing Champions League football next season, the Toffees entertain league champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Arsenal on the other hand have a tricky fixture but easier on paper at home against Brighton and Hove Albion. On any normal day, Sp*rs and Everton will end up losing. And so will Arsenal.
But there is optimism among Arsenal fans that Arsenal can overtake the duo. Will the Gunners’ faithful celebrate St Totteringham’s Day come May 23rd in front of their fans?
After a dismal season, achieving that would make this season slightly sweeter. But it is not in Arsenal’s hands. Both Totten*am and Everton have to lose, and Arsenal have to win to make that happen.
And even if it does not happen, Arsenal supporters would hope that their league form of the second half of this campaign is carried onto next season.