Van Persie contract could make or break Gunners season
Still in pursuit of their first silverware since 2005, Arsenal do remain consistent Champions League qualifiers under Arsene Wenger, though they still look too short in squad depth to mount a serious title challenge.
Since their unbeaten “invincible” season in 2003/2004, Wenger’s squad has failed to near that level of consistency. If their habit of squandering points continues we could see them fall short of the Champions League places for the first time in the not too distant future.
When Arsene Wenger took over in September 1996, Arsenal finished the season in third place on 68 points. Totals of 78, 78, 73, 70, 87, 78 followed before Arsenal reached the peak of 90 points in their unbeaten season. Since that season Arsenal’s points tally has been as follows: 83, 67, 68, 83, 72, 75, 68 and 70.
Such tallies mean that the Gunners have managed to qualify for the Champions League by a margin of less than five points in each of their past two seasons.
The 2004/2005 season represents the last time Arsenal managed to finish in the top two meanwhile, though a third place finish last season was an impressive achievement considering their dismal start.
Robin Van Persie’s future could affect Arsenal’s fortunes drastically, and should the Dutchman, who scored 37 goals in all competitions during 2011/2012, opt to leave the club, the Emirates side could miss out on a top four finish for the first time in Wenger’s 16-year tenure.
Punters may want to pay especially close attention to Arsenal’s fixtures with Everton as they are unbeaten against them in each of the last five seasons.
Meanwhile, they have won eight of the ten games in this period, including all of the last four by a single goal.
Nicknames: The Gunners
Ground: Emirates Stadium, Islington N5 1BU
Owner: Arsenal Holdings PLC
Chairman: Peter Hill-Wood
Manager: Arsene Wenger
League: Premier League
First FA Cup appearance: 1891 vs Derby County (1-2)
Record goalscorer: Thierry Henry (226 goals)
Most appearances: David O’Leary (722 appearances)
Record attendance: 73,707 vs Lens, 1998 Champions League
Main rival: Tottenham Hotspur
Rivals: Manchester United, Chelsea
Celebrity fans: Mick Jagger, Frankie Dettori, Lewis Hamilton, Jay-Z
Fans favourites: Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Viera