Arsenal end of season overview: key moments, best/worst players and what next

By on May 20, 2024

Arsenal Kai Havertz Mikel Arteta

The 2023/24 Premier League season drew to a close on Sunday and after another thrilling campaign, it ultimately ended in frustration for Arsenal.

We went into the final game of the season sitting two points behind Manchester City so we needed them to slip up at home to West Ham and beat Everton to wrestle the title away from the Etihad Stadium. However, any hope of an upset in Manchester went out the window inside the opening two minutes as Phil Foden gave City an early lead.

The newly-crowned Player of the Year soon gave City a 2-0 lead so understandably the Emirates was deflated upon hearing the news and word spread to the Arsenal players. Everton took a shock lead in the 40th minute thanks to a deflected free-kick so the title dream was slipping away.

Things suddenly took an interesting turn as Takehiro Tomiyasu equalised for Arsenal in the 43rd minute while at the same time, West Ham pulled one back against Man City. Just as Arsenal fans hoped for a thrilling second half, City made it 3-1 in the 59th minute to all-but end hopes of a West Ham comeback. Arsenal managed to snatch a 2-1 win over Everton with a late Kai Havertz goal but it was irrelevant in the end as Man City beat West Ham to claim a fourth consecutive title.

For the second season running, Arsenal have fallen just short of the incredible standards Man City are setting. But the progress is clear and Mikel Arteta’s squad is well placed to go again next season and hopefully go one step further to win the title. Let’s take a look back on another excellent campaign:

Key moments that cost us the title

Timber Injury: Arsenal were dealt a huge blow on the opening weekend of the season when new signing Jurrien Timber suffered a serious ACL injury. It ruled him out for virtually the entire season, with Timber only making his comeback during the final 30 minutes against Everton on Sunday. The Dutchman would have been a hugely important player for Arsenal had he been fit. While Arsenal still boasted the best defence in the league, Arteta still had issues at left-back and Timber could easily have won us another 2-6 points had he been fit which would have been enough to win the title.

Arsenal 2-2 Fulham: After coming from behind to lead 10-man Fulham 2-1 with just minutes remaining, Arsenal inexplicably switched off at a corner to allow Palhinha to head home an equaliser. That goal alone cost us two points and the title.

Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham: After taking a 2-1 lead over Spurs at the Emirates, substitute Jorginho – who had replaced the injured Declan Rice at half-time, gifted possession to Tottenham from kick off and they equalised. Had Rice not got injury or Jorginho not given away possession, Arsenal would have won the game as we were well on top. Another two points dropped that made the difference in the title race.

Newcastle 1-0 Arsenal: A hugely controversial goal gave Newcastle an undeserved win over Arsenal at St James’ Park. Not only did the ball look out when Joe Willock crossed, but Joelinton clearly pushed Gabriel Magalhaes with two hands to prevent him clearing. Antony Gordon was also offside when the ball deflected off Joelinton’s arm into his path to score the goal. VAR decided the goal should stand, and that decision cost Arsenal at least a point.

Arsenal 0-2 West Ham: In a game where Arsenal created over 30 shots to West Ham’s 5, it was unbelievable that we lost 2-0. West Ham’s opening goal was also controversial as once again the ball looked out of play before Tomas Soucek scored. Arsenal had enough chances to thrash the Hammers that night but poor finishing cost us.

Fulham 2-1 Arsenal: Just three days later, Arsenal blew an early lead to lose 2-1 at Fulham thanks to a shocking second half display. A win would have sent us top but we wasted a golden chance to claim a vital three points.

Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa: We wasted another opportunity to move clear at the top after losing 2-0 at home to Aston Villa. Leandro Trossard missed a glorious chance give us a deserved lead when his shot from barely 5 yards was well saved by Emi Martinez in the first half. Had that gone in, we could have gone on to claim another vital win as we were dominating the match. As it happened, Villa turned things around after the break as Arsenal tired having played away to Munich three days earlier. Two late goals consigned Arsenal to a painful and costly defeat.

Son miss: Sadly, Arsenal left themselves in a position where we needed a favour from Tottenham in Man City’s penultimate game. Even fans with Tottenham tickets wanted them to lose, but Spurs actually played very well and deserved at least a point. Unfortunately, they missed their chances in the first half and Man City took the lead after the break. Hueng-min Son raced clear in the 88th minute and had the perfect chance to equalise but saw his effort saved by sub goalkeeper Ortega. That miss alone cost Arsenal the title.

So there were several important moments that went against Arsenal this season. All we needed was for one or two to go our way and we’d have been champions.

Best players

William Saliba, Gabriel and Ben White: It wouldn’t be fair to pick out just one, as all three were superb throughout the season. Ben White has made the right-back spot his own with consistently brilliant performances. Saliba and Gabriel have formed the league’s best partnership and were the foundation of our rock solid defence.

Declan Rice: Our big money signing from last summer enjoyed a superb debut campaign. He’s undoubtedly improved the team and has taken us to another level.

Martin Odegaard: Our captain was outstanding all season and should have gone closer to winning the POTY award. The best playmaker in Europe right now.

Bukayo Saka: Our ‘Starboy’ stepped up a level again this season and was our most dangerous attacker. Despite carrying knocks for much of the season, he still provided 20 goals and 14 assists in 47 games.

Kai Havertz: After a difficult start to life at Arsenal following his move from Chelsea, Havertz played an instrumental role in our title challenge. Particularly during the second half of the season when he played up front.


Oleksandr Zinchenko: Having been one of our most important players last season, Zinchenko lost his place at left-back after his defensive frailties were exposed one too many times. A summer move could be on the cards.

Gabriel Jesus: Much like Zinchenko, Jesus has gone to key player to bench warmer this season. Injuries haven’t helped, but he’s just not the clinical goal-scorer Arsenal need. 4 league goals in 27 appearances tells it’s own story.

Gabriel Martinelli: After a stunning campaign last season, Martinelli failed to kick on this season. He managed just 6 league goals and ended up losing his place to Trossard.

Fabio Vieira: The Portuguese has struggled to stay fit but even when he is available, he barely plays. Played just 54 minutes of league football since mid-November.

Eddie Nketiah: After starting 10 of our first 20 games, Nketiah was consigned to the bench after scoring in just three league games. He only got a handful of sub appearances after starting in the defeat to Fulham on December 31st.

What next?

Arsenal may have fallen short of winning the title but it’s clear we’re on an upward trajectory. Arteta will refine his squad this summer and we could see the likes of Ramsdale, Zinchenko, Partey, Vieira, Nketiah and Nelson leave to make room for new arrivals.

The addition of a clinical striker is vital, but Arsenal also need to add another winger and central midfielder. A new left-back could also be required along with a back-up for David Raya in goal.

If Arsenal can have a successful summer in the transfer window, I think we’ll see them pushing City all the way once again next season and we could finally get the better of Pep Guardiola’s men.