Arsenal's trend of strong finishes to Premier League campaigns revealed
Last Updated: 27/03/18 8:26am
Arsenal appear to have lost more ground in the top-six battle this season - but a customary strong finish could be on the cards...
The Gunners must produce a strong finish to the season to maintain any hope of claiming fifth spot in the table and avoid their lowest league finish in 23 years - but Arsene Wenger's side have a particularly good habit of doing that.
Arsenal kicked off this campaign with a 4-3 win against Leicester, but that goal fest was followed by a 1-0 defeat at Stoke and a 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool.
Besides that poor start, Arsenal's season was following a strikingly similar pattern to their five-year average, enjoying marginally above-average results between September and November before a slightly worse December.
But a 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth in January, coupled with a 3-1 loss at Swansea a fortnight later - momentarily mitigated with a 5-1 win over Everton - before three back-to-back defeats, completed a shocking period through to early March.
Since the Swansea game, Arsenal's results have been well below their seasonal average - and that dip in form reflects their current sixth-place standing in the Premier League.
In fact, the Gunners have spent 16 of the 31 matchdays in sixth spot this term and have failed to occupy a position above fourth, which they held on occasions during their run of form between November and December.
The most recent blow was a shock 2-1 defeat at Brighton, which sparked a recurrence of the calls from some fans for Wenger to leave his post.
Wenger finished outside the top four for the first time in his 22-year tenure last season - and that outcome appears to be on cards again.
However, Arsenal have a remarkable record for producing strong finishes in the Premier League and a similar purple patch this time around could, potentially, snatch fifth spot - if Chelsea suffer a dip in form.
That record includes winning eight of their final 10 Premier League fixtures in 2012/13 and five successive games at the end of 2013/14.
In 2014/15, the Gunners won nine out of 10 fixtures between February and May, and were undefeated in their final 10 games during 2015/16 to oust Tottenham with a second-place finish.
Last season, Arsenal won their final five games of the campaign to leapfrog Manchester United and climb from sixth to fifth - a situation they find themselves in again this term, behind Chelsea.
The Gunners have a slightly easier run-in than Antonio Conte's side, with average opponents ranking 12.4 in the Premier League table, compared with a tougher 11.8.
|Leicester (A) (TBC)||Tottenham (A)|
|Stoke (H)||West Ham (H)|
|Southampton (H)||Southampton (A)|
|Newcastle (A)||Burnley (A)|
|West Ham (H)||Southampton (H)|
|Man Utd (A)||Swansea (A)|
|Burnley (H)||Liverpool (H)|
|Huddersfield (A)||Newcastle (A)|
Arsenal would gain Champions League qualification by winning the Europa League - but Wenger will also be looking to mastermind a customary strong finish domestically to snatch fifth spot and avoid another slip down the top-six pecking order.
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