The state of play as Arsenal aim for league and European glory

By on March 25, 2024

Bukayo Saka Leandro Trossard Kai Havertz Arsenal

We’re about to head into the business end of the 2023/24 season, so let’s look at the state of play as Arsenal look for glory in the Premier League and Champions League.

Premier League redemption

Arsenal ran Manchester City close last season but fell at the final hurdle. A disastrous run of results in April ended our title hopes so Mikel Arteta will be determined not to let that happen again this time around. Many pundits felt last season was a one-off, and that Arsenal would fail to replicate that sort of form to mount another title tilt this campaign. Some even tipped us to miss out on the top four.

However, fans with Arsenal tickets were confident in the squad and we have proven the doubters wrong as we sit top of the Premier League table during the March international break. We’ve taken 64 points from 28 games – level with Liverpool and one point ahead of defending champions Man City. Arsenal boast the best goal difference, with the best attack and best defence, following a stunning run of form since the winter break. So, nobody can deny that we deserve to be top of the table at this point in the season.

After a mini slump in December that saw us lose to Aston Villa, West Ham and Fulham, the haters believed our title hopes were over. However, since returning from a warm weather training trip to Dubai in January, Arsenal have gone on a sensational 8-match winning streak in the Premier League.

We returned to action with a bang after thrashing Crystal Palace 5-0 at the Emirates Stadium before beating Nottingham Forest 2-1 at the City Ground. But perhaps the most significant moment of the season so far came with a 3-1 victory over Liverpool at the Emirates. Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Leandro Trossard got the goals as we secured a deserved win over Jurgen Klopp’s side to haul ourselves back into title contention.

Full of confidence, Arsenal then thrashed West Ham 6-0 away before putting five past Burnley at Turf Moor to do our goal difference the world of good. Arsenal then got revenge on Newcastle United with another impressive 4-1 win before smashing six past Sheffield United to complete a stunning run of goal-scoring form from the Gunners. A slightly more tense 2-1 win over Brentford on March 9th ensured Arsenal remained top of the table heading into the international break.

Tough run

However, the hard work is still to come as Arsenal now face a tough run-in over the next 10 games – especially with Champions League football to contend with this season. First up is a daunting trip to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to face Manchester City, which will go a long way to determining our title hopes. Win, and Arsenal suddenly become favourites for the title. Lose, and we’ll be playing catch up and we know from last season how hard it is to catch this City team – and we also have Liverpool to deal with this time.

After the City game, we host Luton Town at home before travelling to Brighton. We must pick up six points from those games to stand any chance as we then take on fourth-placed Aston Villa in-between our Champions League quarter-final legs against Bayern Munich. Wolves away will also be very hard, especially as it takes place just days after the Bayern away trip.

Arsenal then take on Chelsea at home before the North London Derby against Tottenham at the New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. We then take on Bournemouth away before travelling to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in our final away game. Arsenal then end the season at the Emirates against Everton.

On paper, our away games against Man City, Man Utd, Brighton and Tottenham will be key to our title hopes, as well as the tough home games against Villa and Chelsea. We’ll probably need to avoid defeat to City and pick up another 6-7 wins to win the title. We have the quality to do it, but it’s certainly going to be tough.

Huge Champions League tie

As well as competing for the title again, Arsenal are also battling it out with Europe’s best to win the Champions League this season. After years in the wilderness, Arsenal returned to Europe’s top tier competition this season and we were drawn in Group B alongside PSV Eindhoven, Lens and Sevilla. We made light work of the group stages, finishing top of the table and progressing to the knockout with a game to spare.

Arsenal then got what we thought was a favourable draw in the last-16 after being pitted against Porto. However, it turned out to be a horrible draw for us as the Portuguese giants proved to be tough opposition. Led by 41-year-old Pepe at the back, Porto were streetwise and knew exactly how to disrupt Arsenal’s free-flowing style of football. The away game in Porto was a lesson in European away days, as despite dominating the ball for most of the game and restricting the hosts to few chances, Arsenal struggled to create anything of note themselves and were made to pay in the dying seconds when Galeno scored a wonder-goal to give Porto a 1-0 win.

Arsenal levelled things up in the second leg thanks to Leandro Trossard midway through the first half and many fans thought we’d go on to win the tie. However, Porto used all of their tactical nous to grind out a 1-0 loss – 1-1 on aggregate – which sent the game to penalties. Thankfully, David Raya was the hero for Arsenal, saving two spot-kicks to send us into the quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years.

We have been drawn to face familiar opposition in the last-8 as we’ll be up against Bayern Munich. The German giants haven’t been at their best this season, but they are still a formidable side in Europe and have Harry Kane up front. The England hitman scored regularly against Arsenal in his Tottenham days, and with 37 goals in 35 games for Bayern this season, he’ll be the dangerman during the two ties.

If Arsenal manage to get past Bayern over the two legs, we’ll have to face the winner of Man City versus Real Madrid for a place in the final. So, it’s safe to say we’ll have to do it the hard way if we’re to reach the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium.

It’s a daunting task, but these are the games we look forward to and why we want to be in the Champions League in the first place. Hopefully the players can rise to the occasion. Weirdly, I think we’ll enjoy playing against teams like Bayern, City and Madrid more than Porto.

Arsenal have a huge couple of months coming up with many exciting games on the horizon. It’s great to be in the Premier League title race again and into the last-8 of the Champions League. Let’s pray the players maintain their excellent form and fingers crossed we have something to show for it at the end of the season.