With Arsenal returning from their winter break to host Crystal Palace, we’ve priced up their points tally for the 23/24 Premier League season.
The Gunners amassed 84 points last term – the best return since their ‘Invincible’ season of 2003/04 – and it’s a 7/2 shot they can improve on that this time around.
For much of last season, it felt like everything was going right for Arsenal. Barring Gabriel Jesus, they managed to keep everyone fit, they’d reached 50 points from their first 19 games, and while they were over-performing their xG, it wasn’t to unsustainable levels.
Then William Saliba got injured and the wheels came off. Though they’d beat Crystal Palace and Leeds, they’d win just two of their next eight, surrendering the title to Manchester City, throwing two-goal leads away in consecutive games to Liverpool and West Ham, then going 2-0 down at home to doomed Southampton, needing two late goals just to rescue a point.
Could Arsenal dust themselves down and not just repeat last season’s efforts but improve on them? It was a huge challenge but one they looked up to for a while. The injury to Jurrien Timber scuppered plans somewhat, but the non-stop dynamism of Declan Rice has allowed Mikel Arteta to essentially field a second number 10 in Kai Havertz and until their recent struggles, Arsenal looked like pushing City all the way once again.
Unfortunately, as the Gunners found out last season, there’s no room for error when mounting a title challenge against Manchester City. In 2019 and 2022 Liverpool reached 97 and 92 points – both times they were one shy, and Arsenal’s Christmas blip may be what costs them this time around.
Table on 18th December 2023:
From being in pole position heading into the festive period, Arsenal drew with Liverpool, and while the game was played at Anfield, it was an opportunity to lay down a marker. Although the draw meant Arsenal would be top at Christmas, they’d follow that up with defeats at home to West Ham and away to Fulham.
Of course, Arsenal’s underlying numbers in those games suggested they should’ve taken something from one if not both of those matches, and the tide will likely turn before long. Interestingly, Arsenal’s GD/90 this season is +0.85 despite an xGD/90 of +1.00, compared to last season’s GD/90 which was +1.18 against an xGD/90 of +0.79.
It may be the Gunners are experiencing a little regression after last season, but they’ve managed to control games better this time around. Getting 45 points from their remaining 18 games – 15 wins and three losses, or 14 wins, three draws and one loss – won’t be easy, but if they can stop dropping silly points, they may still find themselves on the fringes of a title race again in the coming months.