Arsenal’s cup drought is a real problem. The Gooners haven’t seen their club lift a Premier League cup since their unbeaten run in 2003/2004 season.
Arsenal has only won the Premier League three times despite the fact that they remain one of the six clubs to have played in every Premier League season since its founding in 1992. If we are counting, that’s a total of three out of 26 seasons. Somehow, Arsenal has had near misses on seasons they could have won the league but bottled it.
In all of these, it always starts with a great start of the season for Arsenal. Winning games and keeping their losses low, amassing points till towards the end of the season when they start slipping and dropping points. In fact, Arsene Wengers long tenure at the club saw several seasons where the team narrowly missed out on the league title from a great position.
This has made Arsenal fans used to the club’s disappointment and one can even say some of them don’t expect their club to win the league anymore. As long as they finish top four, they’re fine. With Arsenal in the third position this season, the club is in a good place and can still challenge for the title.
Let’s take a quick look at some of Arsenal’s near misses in years they could have won the league.
2007/08 – Unbeaten in first 15 games
This was the season where Arsenal could have won the league because for some time, they looked so sure to win it. They started off the season with their first 15 matches unbeaten. They had spent the majority of the season between mid September and early March at the top of the table and were undefeated at home for the entire season.
The hopes of Arsenal winning the league that year in a late-season draw with the then soon-to-be-relegated Birmingham which saw Manchester United take the league. Most fans can still remember the iconic meltdown of the then Arsenal captain, William Gallas. The draw put Arsenal finish third place while Manchester United won the league and Chelsea came second.
The Gunners ended the season with 83 points, with just four behind Alex Ferguson’s side in 1st place. (Premier League Stat)
2013/2014 – 128 days at the top of the table
This is a season never to be forgotten by Arsenal fans, they saw things escalate negatively for their club so quickly. Arsenal had been top of the league for 128 days until they went to Anfield and got thumped 5-1. What followed was truly, truly horrifying.
Even though Arsenal had suffered a 6-3 defeat to Man City in December, Wenger’s men still found consistency in the winter months and steadily climbed to the top of the league. It was all going so well for them until their Anfield pummeling that changed everything.
After their Anfield defeat, everything started blowing up with further defeats against Stoke and Everton and also a humiliating 6-0 defeat away to Chelsea.
Arsenal ended the season in 4th, seven points off the top spot they had been for 128 days.
2015/2016 – 10 points behind
Like all other seasons where Arsenal missed the chance of taking the league, this one wasn’t any different.
In the match that decided everything that season, Theo Walcott’s presence could have disturbed the Swansea side a bit even though he was not in the best of form.
Arsenal showed up that evening against Swansea evaporated in a flurry of frightened hacks, rushed passes and general falling over. A mediocre Swansea side with a rookie left-backs treated them like a doormat. Lukas Fabianski made some decent saves, Arsenal hit the woodwork twice but let’s not mince words here: they bottled that game. And the league title as well.
They finished second behind Leicester City with a ten points slip.
Arsenal and the fans are used to a good start of the season. Just as much as they are used to the disappointment that follows it.
We can only bank on Arsenal to take good advantage of their position this season and try to challenge for the league title without eventually blowing their chance halfway.