Points-wise, this season has only been surpassed twice by Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal.
Although disappointment was the underlying feeling among many by the time the final ball was kicked, a look down the years actually makes for healthy reading.
To begin with, the improvement on the previous Premier League campaign was palpable. The Gunners accumulated 15 more points in 2007/08 than they did one season earlier, had a higher goals-per-game average and scored a further 11 goals (finishing one place higher in the standings too). The Club’s top scorer, Emmanuel Adebayor, plundered 24 goals compared with the 11 that Robin van Persie had topped the list with the year before. In fact, since the inception of the Premier League, only Thierry Henry has scored more League goals in a season for the Club.
Arsenal also conceded on four fewer occasions, 31, and kept three more clean sheets; moving up that particular Premier League table from 10th to fifth. All this was achieved in a fairer way too — Wenger’s side moved up two places in the disciplinary table, ending the season in seventh.
The Gunners’ improvement away from Emirates Stadium was particularly impressive. Last season the Club accumulated 26 points on their travels, 16 worse than Champions Manchester United. This term, though, they earned 36, one more than the fierce rivals.
The status quo was maintained in one respect: Cesc Fabregas remains the Premier League’s leading goal-maker. Even then, his tally of assists shot up from 13 to 19. Fabregas’ emergence as the country’s leading ‘assistant’ is good news for the Gunners because, since the turn of the century, only Henry has managed more in one season — in 2002/03 the Frenchman set-up a staggering 23 goals for his team-mates.
Glancing back even further, it’s clear that the positives of this domestic campaign outweigh the negatives. Arsenal surpassed their points total of the 1997/98 ‘double’ season by five, and eclipsed the ‘goals scored’ tally from the famous Invincibles season.
Of the Gunners’ title-winning seasons, only the 2003/04 side conceded fewer goals than the class of 2008. It’s also worth mentioning that the only campaign to wield more clean sheets was Wenger’s first full season in 1997/98.
On the European stage, Arsenal progressed one round further than they did the previous year, reaching the Quarter-Finals for the fourth time.
Wenger’s team also surpassed the previous season’s goals tally of seven. The Club notched double that figure in the group stage alone, including the 7-0 romp at home to Slavia Prague.
A glance below reveals just how well this season matches up to those previous.
|Season||Pts||F||A||CS*||Top Scorer||Top Assists||Pts(H)||Pts(A)||Fair Play|
|2007-08||83||74||31||15||Adebayor 24||Fabregas 19||47||36||7th|
|2006-07||68||63||35||12||Van Persie 11||Fabregas 13||42||26||9th|
|2003-04||90||73||26||15||Henry 30||Pires 9||49||41||7th|
* Clean sheets