Will Arsenal Learn From Previous Premier League Title Race Failings?

Arsenal are trying to win the Premier League for the first time in 20 years
10:00, 21 Aug 2023

Arsenal are fully-fledged members of this Premier League title race. After finishing second behind Manchester City last term, they have gone out and strengthened in the transfer window to put themselves in contention again this season. 

Monday Night Football’s trip to Selhurst Park is the next step on the ladder, after they edged past Nottingham Forest on the opening day. Mikel Arteta will hope his side have matured having taken a bruising last term after the last few months, but that isn’t the only title race they’ve been in since they last lifted the trophy in 2004.

Last season’s pain can hopefully give them motivation, and the main thing their young squad should have learnt from the 2022/23 season is the emotions that come with a title race. On far too many occasions, Arsenal were swept up in the emotion of a win, and they lost their composure when in control of matches. 


They threw away a 2-0 lead at Anfield. Then they did the same the following week at West Ham. Then they pinched a draw at home to Southampton, but the damage had already been done. The shadow of Manchester City loomed large, and Pep Guardiola’s experience saw Man City to their third consecutive title.

In 2015/16, when Leicester City shocked the world, Arsenal were leading the Premier League at the halfway stage, but ended ten points adrift. Leicester won the league with 81 points that year, a relatively low total in comparison to the insane numbers Manchester City have been putting up since. 

What cost the Gunners, who were strong that year, was the amount of games they drew. 11 in total, nine of which came in the second half of the season against teams they simply had to beat. Remarkably, they beat the champions home and away which should have given them a huge advantage in the title race, but they didn’t press home their advantage in tight games. 

This season, if games are tied, they have to go all out for the winner. Manchester City don’t draw games anymore in the title run-in, and the difference between one point and three in the title race is gargantuan. 


In 2007/08, they were in fine form to win the Premier League and finished with a decent points total of 83, but it was only good enough for third spot. Manchester United took home the league title as Arsenal lost just three games all season. They were top until gameweek 29, but once again a run of pesky draws cost them. They drew four in a row, starting when Eduardo broke his leg at Birmingham City and captain William Gallas lost the plot, before Chelsea beat them to all but end their title hopes.

This season, as was the case last term, they have to make sure they are all singing off the same hymn sheet. There simply can’t be any loose cannons that rock the boat when the club is in a strong position a la Gallas. That season, they truly shot themselves in the foot, but fortunately, it seems like Arteta has now built a squad full of good eggs. They are impressionable and young, but it seems unlikely that any of them will step out of line given the faith he has imparted upon them. 

All three title failures have lessons to be learnt from. Last year they were too naive. In 2016, they were too timid. In 2008, they imploded. Can they learn from all three to finally get their hands back on the Premier League table? 

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