Arsenal had a “comfortable” grip on the Champions League spot and slipped up when it mattered most. They at one point had as much as 4 points over their London rivals but basically ruined it all with two back to back losses, one of which came to Tottenham.
The dream isn’t over yet but all cards are in Tottenham Hotspur’s hands now. All it takes is a win against Norwich City in their last game of the season and Spurs will leave Arsenal in 5th. Let’s take a look at why it happened.
The Gunners, alongside Mikel Arteta, have the youngest manager and the youngest team in the league.
In fact, of the 30 youngest starting eleven this season in the Premier League, Arsenal have had 25. The five other teams in those 30 games are Everton 2x, Norwich, Brentford and Southampton.
Should this be used as that big of an excuse? No, but the point still stands its ground.
United in 19/20, Tottenham in 15/16 and Arsenal in 11/12 had younger squads in terms of minutes divided by players (Athletic). All finished in better places than the current Arsenal BUT what people don’t want to understand is that the league has never been this STRONG from top to bottom with the title, top-four race and one relegation spot all going to the final day.
SMALL SQUAD, BIG DREAMS
Arsenal have found a set eleven excluding one or two positions for the first time in a while this year.
The squad had its tail and nose. It still looked like we’ve barely grazed the surface of that team’s capabilities at times. All of them led by Thomas Partey, our biggest player in the most important position for us in the team.
What would happen if Tottenham lost Harry Kane? Because that’s how much Partey means to this team.
Injuries to both him, Tierney and Tomiyasu left us scrambling for places in the eleven. We couldn’t play a 4-3-3 as effectively anymore nor could we be as solid as before at the back. Goals dried out too. Those three alongside Xhaka were some of the biggest leaders of that team. All issues we’ve had previously looked three times worse.
This squad’s age really started showing without those players who give you regular 7/10s on top of providing a sense of safety in crunch time. This is the problem when you lose the constants in an individually inconsistent performing team.
Arteta has stated that they performed above expectations this season, regardless if they finish 4th or 5th. That may be true in some variables but the reality is that they haven’t underachieved or overachieved. They simply finished where they should be finishing all things considered.
There’s so much reason for optimism and Arsenal fans shouldn’t give up on this team. Only way for them is up.
– Emile Smith-Rowe: Arsenal’s Present & Future
– Martin Odegaard: Arsenal’s very own Luka Modric
– Profiling Arsenal target Gabriel Jesus: What will he bring to the Emirates?
– Arsenal’s next talented Hale End product: Brooke Norton-Cuffy – Scout Report