Arsenal could be in a relegation battle by the New Year if results go against them

  • Kat Lucas

Unai Emery’s sacking didn’t salvage it; a comeback win against West Ham proved an all-too-brief papering over the cracks. 

It’s beginning to look like there is simply no hope for Arsenal’s season anymore. 

The latest nadir came as they surrendered 3-0 at home to Manchester City with more than a touch of resignation.

There was a stat doing the rounds afterwards that summed up the Gunners’ plight: they are now closer to the relegation zone (just seven points away) than they are the top four. 

Freddie Ljungberg must surely be looking over his shoulder rather than up at the top teams, wondering just how bad things will get before the caretaker boss is relieved of his burden and a permanent appointment is made. 

The further the north Londoners slip down the table, the less attractive a proposition they will be to a new manager. 

Imagine if they were in a relegation battle by the turn of the year, for example. Surely not? 

It would take a certain combination of results, but Arsenal could genuinely be level with the teams in the drop zone by the time they play Manchester United on New Year’s Day. 

The teams below them 

Arsenal are currently on 22 points and sit ninth. The teams below them would need the following amount of points – ignoring the bottom two Watford and Norwich, who are too far behind to draw level.

Crystal Palace – 1
Newcastle – 1
Burnley – 2
Brighton – 4
Bournemouth – 4
West Ham – 4
Everton – 5
Aston Villa – 8
Southampton – 8

Some of those teams are playing each other, but taking that into account, here are their respective fixtures and the results they’d need before 2020. 

Potential results 

Crystal Palace – draw with Brighton, draw with Newcastle, lose to West Ham, lose to Southampton

Newcastle – draw with Crystal Palace, draw with Manchester United, draw with Everton

Burnley – draw with Bournemouth, draw with Everton, lose to Manchester United

Brighton – draw with Crystal Palace, lose to Sheffield United, lose to Tottenham, beat Bournemouth

Bournemouth – draw with Burnley, beat Arsenal, lose to Brighton

West Ham – beat Palace, draw with Leicester

Everton – beat Arsenal, draw with Burnley, draw with Newcastle

Aston Villa – draw with Southampton, beat Norwich, beat Watford

Southampton – draw with Aston Villa, beat Chelsea, beat Crystal Palace

How would that leave the table? 

Newcastle 25
Crystal Palace 24
Burnley 23
Brighton 23
Bournemouth 23
West Ham 23
Everton 23
Arsenal 22
Aston Villa 22
Southampton 22
Norwich 12
Watford 12

By virtue of Villa playing Southampton, they can’t both accumulate maximum points, nor are they likely to given their seasons so far. However, Arsenal could be level with the teams in the drop zone and kept out of it only by superior goal difference.  

Is it realistic? 

Not many of the results we’ve listed above are too far-fetched, but it would require a few upsets – the biggest being Southampton getting a result against Chelsea, even if the Blues are out of form, and West Ham repeating Norwich’s unlikely feat in taking a point off Leicester. 

It would also mean Arsenal losing their three games against Everton, Bournemouth and Chelsea. None of their fans would bet against that, the first two being away from home, but it still seems a long shot. 

Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that only *some* of the above results need to transpire and Arsenal could find themselves in huge trouble, dangling perilously close to the bottom three. 

The fact that the ‘r word’ is even being mentioned in the same breath as the 13-time champions of England is just testament to a truly alarming state of affairs. 

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