Gunner Thoughts

Re: Have Arsenal Blown Their Only Title Chance or Peaked? Absurd.

Giving my thoughts on one of the most absurd takeaways from Arsenal’s season floating around.

City are two points behind Arsenal on the table heading into this weekend but carry two games in hand and haven’t lost a match since February. It’s 17 unbeaten and 14 wins during that run. A fearsome foe made more devastating by the fact that Arsenal hadn’t lost a Premier League match of their own since February, when City beat them at the Emirates.

The combination of factors — Arsenal’s injuries and decline and City’s run — leave Arsenal fans with about one hundred sporadic takeaways from the campaign.

“This league is a gauntlet that demands consistency all the way through”, “things caught up with us in the end”, “caught the injury bug late”, “we have catapulted ourselves to a team that scores 90 goals”, “we are learning that winning habit”…

I’m not here to tell you exactly how to feel… except one way.

There is one takeaway that seems to be floating around that needs to be called out because it is, at this point, the single dumbest takeaway from this season that I can possibly imagine.

That is, this idiocy, that Arsenal have “definitively blown their only chance at a title for the next ‘x’ years”.

Perhaps more asinine, those asking if Arsenal have “hit their peak”.

If that is your viewpoint at the end of this season, give your head a wobble, walk away, and reflect.

Of course there is no guarantee that Arsenal capture a title in the next decade, no one can promise that. Injuries exist. Tight margins exist. And as we have seen this year, it has become a league where the demands are now set at “perfection”.

When I consider Arsenal’s season, on the whole, I think back to an article I wrote shortly after Arsenal’s loss at Old Trafford, that speculated about Arsenal’s ability or inability to be true contenders.

The crux of the piece: a better question than “are they contenders” is asking if Saka, Martinelli and Ødegaard are ready to shoulder the burdens asked of title-winning stars.

Interestingly, there were three aspects I called out that have come into play heavily this season:

  • Young stars carrying the responsibility, not just G/A but the rest of the burden it takes
  • Killer instances to not only impose themselves but also kill games
  • Consistency across the full 38-match campaign

As we steel ourselves for City to surpass us in the coming weeks — although wishing on a start for otherwise — a person could argue that these three components are where Arsenal fell short. Killer instinct and closing games cost them versus Liverpool and West Ham; people will question whether they were ready to firm grasp the responsibilities of a title-challenges run in; and, in the end, the consistency fell short as a team.

We know that “consistency” faltered when injuries occurred, and simultaneous Saliba and Tomiyasu injuries caused form to cascade. BUT – here is where this season gets so much more interesting, and why asking if Arsenal have “peaked” is absurd.

This team’s “best” XI played just six matches together this season. This team’s starting lineup’s average age hovers around 24.5 AND that is weighted by Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka. This team has scored 78 goals, 50 of them have been scored by players under the age of 25.

In the article I called into question whether Arsenal could be a team that scores 85-95 points and tallies 90 goals. As a team, they have catapulted themselves from last year and morphed into one that is on pace to put up those points on the table and score 90 goals. THAT is a feat that I did not think this team would be ready for.


I think they have proven so, so, soooo many people wrong. When Arteta says they are ahead of schedule, it’s easy to see why. The leaps in consistency and production from their trio of attacking stars, combined with the defensive cohesiveness and qualities of their starting backline, have surpassed when many would have thought they could show THIS.

And it feels absurd to think 23-year-olds have hit their ceiling when players their prime when aged 26-28. Why would these players be different?

Why would their levels of consistency not improve? Why would their gained experiences not see them handle the pressure and bright lights of the big moments with more grace? Why would this club not be adding more talent in future windows to improve the quality and depth to both raise the ceiling and better juggle multiple windows?


Like Will Ferrell’s Mr. Mugatu, I feel like I am on crazy pills!

Yes, the Premier League’s level of talent will only rise. Liverpool will probably improve. Chelsea you would imagine will improve. Newcastle will continue to plug £150-250m into their team each window until they are a powerhouse. United will settle in further with Ten Hag and spend. Manchester City will continue to improve and spend until a governing body comes down with considerable sanctions. And this league will continue to explode with state-funded teams and oil money until it’s truly policed.

But why do these facts only harm Arsenal? Why does an improved league with competitive “mid-table” teams like Villa, Brighton, or Brentford, mean only Arsenal will have less points or more trouble?

The reality is, any enhancements made will make it more difficult on every team. Believe it or not, that probably includes Manchester City to some degree.

But Arsenal are in a wonderful spot. They have a trio of U25, attacking stars that have contributed 63 G/A in 33 matches. They have a centerback partnership in Gabriel and Saliba that was one of the leagues best until Saliba was hurt (and some will argue there is room to upgrade). Ben White has been great at right back, there is room for competition. The midfield will need funds and purchases this summer, it’s no surprise Arsenal are already linked in that area of the pitch.

Finally, Arsenal have a coach that is in his third year of managerial experience ever. And as much as some people seemed determined to label him a failure and pretend he has peaked as well, I am here to wager this his abilities as a manager only continue to improve. From tactical tweaks, to in-game changes and subs, to strategic versatility — he will get better.

Have Arsenal peaked, or blown their only title chance? No. Arsenal will be in the mix a lot in coming years with these young starlets. We are just getting started, baby.

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