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Finding some positives in a negative month

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Searching for the bright spots after a dark ending to the league and Europa League.

Arsenal v Swansea City - Premier League Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

I get it, you’re angry. Perhaps you are sad. Maybe you’re a combination of the two - probably feeling the full spectrum of emotions. That was a tough way to end the season. Especially after the struggles at the end of the Premier League season. And salt in the wound, it was to a London rival.

If you are ready to move on or think about the positives, read on. If you need more time after what was truly a cruel ending to the year, I completely understand. Maybe read this article next Monday.

But regardless of how the Europa League Final went, there were plenty of positives this year for Arsenal that are worth highlighting. Forgetting them, or letting the end of the season cloud over them, would be wrong. So let’s take a quick look at what actually went well for the Gunners this campaign.

Premier League

The team earned more points, picked up more wins, improved their away record, had a massive unbeaten streak early in the campaign, and dropped fewer points to lower table competition during second half of the season.

Points Total

  • 2017/18: 63
  • 2018/19: 70 (+7)

Wins

  • 2017/18: 19
  • 2018/19: 21 (+2)

Away Points

  • 2017/18: 16
  • 2018/19: 25 (+9)

Longest Unbeaten Run:

  • 2017/18: 7
  • 2018/19: 14 (+7)

Points Dropped to Bottom Half Teams During the Second Half of the Season:

  • 2017/18: 9
  • 2018/19: 5 (-4). That’s a good thing.
Arsenal FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Europa League

A better performance in the Group Stage and they got one step farther in the competition this year.

Group Stage Points:

  • 2017/18: 13
  • 2018/19: 16 (+3)

Final Stage:

  • 2017/18: Semi-Finals
  • 2018/19: Final

Cups

The two Cup competitions were disappointing runs, but ended against top 6 clubs - sometimes the draws don’t go your way.

FA Cup:

  • 2017/18: 3rd Round
  • 2018/19: 4th Round

*Note: The EFL Cup was the one competition Arsenal took a step back in, having lost to Manchester City in the 2017/18 Final, and going out at the Quarterfinals this season to Tottenham.

Burnley FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

First Team

  • Striker Duo - Even though they had a poor Europa Final, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette significantly increased the goal tally for Arsenal year-on-year, going from a combined 27 goals last year to 50 this season.
  • Youth Potential - Rob Holding looked impressive during his short run in the starting XI before getting injured. And, again today aside, Ainsley Maitland-Niles did a wonderful job playing out of position filling in for the injured Hector Bellerin.
  • Bernd Leno - Quickly took the starting role from Petr Cech and looked solid throughout most of his debut season in England.

Future First Team Prospects

  • Reiss Nelson
  • Emile Smith Rowe
  • Joe Willock
  • Krystian Bielik

Was it a brutal final match, to a less-than-ideal opponent, after a frustrating final few weeks of the Premier League season? Of course. Arsenal had multiple chances to get back into the Champions League and begin to turn their fortunes heading into the summer transfer window. But things didn’t fall their way. The strong performances got the club to the threshold of success, but then...they dried up.

Acknowledge the mistakes, build on the improvements and begin again. Bring on the transfer window, summer friendlies and the hope of a new season. COYG.