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Top of the league. What does history tell us about the first 6 results.

A win on Saturday made that 5 wins in a row in the Premier League for Arsenal, meaning Arsenal have picked up 15 points from their first 6 games of the season, putting us top of the League. Already bookies have shortened the odds on Arsenal to win the title, at the start of the season you could’ve picked up as much as 16/1 on Arsenal to win the title, now we’re as short as 4/1. Of course bookies aren’t best way to judge how a season is going to pan out, one loss next week and we’ll be back at the 14/1 odds we were on pre-Villa. My point is however, I think everybody has been surprised by how well Arsenal have started, despite the shocking opening day loss and the mountainous injury list, the question is can Arsenal maintain this?

Wenger with trophies

The old saying is that you can’t win the title in the first 6 games but you can certainly lose it, something along those lines anyway. Just for my own curiosity I have looked back on the first 6 games of every Wenger led Arsenal, Premier League season. I have noticed some interesting trends….

The last time Arsenal notched up 5 wins from their first 6 games of the season was arguably the last time we were actually involved in a title race right up to the last few fixtures of the season, which was the 07/08 season. The team of 07/08 that included the likes of Fabregas, Song, Gilberto, Hleb, Flamini, Adebayor, Toure, Van Persie etc finished just 4 points behind the eventual Premier League winners Manchester United, with 83 points.

We managed to go the first 15 games of the season unbeaten taking 37 points from a possible 45. Since the 07/08 season we haven’t finished anywhere near the leaders, even in the 09/10 season where we completely blew the title with a shockingly poor finish to the last few months of the season and eventually finished 11 points behind the winners Chelsea.

The only other time Arsenal came away with 5 victories from their first 6 Premier League games under Wenger was in 04/05, where the Invincibles kicked off their title defence with a bang, but were completely blown out of the water by Mourinho’s Chelsea side who romped to the League title with a staggering 95 points.

In that season we managed to accumulate 83 points, finishing 12 points behind in second place. We actually took 16 points from our first 6 games and were undefeated for 10 games until United ended our 49 game unbeaten run.

Vieira and Adams with premier league trophy - copyright arsenalpics.com

The Invincibles season started with 4 wins and 2 draws, taking 14 points from the opening 6 games. In Wenger’s 17 year period at the club, Arsenal have only mustered more than 15 points from their first 6 games on 3 occasions, this season being the 3rd. Winning the league in neither of the first two seasons, 07/08 and 04/05.

Arsenal have won the league or finished within 12 points behind the leaders 10 times under Wenger, and on the 6 occasions we have done so we’ve taken a minimum of 12 points from the opening 6 games, which shows how imperative a good start is if you are to have a relatively successful season.

Of the 7 seasons we have taken less than 12 points from the opening 6 games of the season, 4 of the campaigns we finished more than 12 points behind the leaders. The past is not always the best way to judge the future, but it can be an indicator into how important the start of the season is. These facts certainly show that.

Now I will not sit here and tell you that we are genuine title contenders, because it is far too early to do so and I still have reservations about how strong we actually are, that however is a story for another time. But what I will say is that history shows us that after good starts to the Premier League we normally do quite well and go onto either win the League or at the very least mount a title challenge, finishing relatively close behind the eventual winners.

Let’s hope history continues and the team continue their good form and who knows if we’re still about there or thereabouts come January, maybe we can start talking about a title challenge, a title challenge that nobody would’ve have expected after our disastrous start against Villa and adorn the Emirates with some silverware at last.

Title Winning Seasons

  • 03/04 – 14 points from first 6 games
  • 01/02 – 11 points from first 6 games
  • 97/98 – 12 points from first 6 games

Crossing the 80 point mark

  • 07/08 (83 points) – 16 points from first 6 games, finishing 3rd, 4 points behind winners Man Utd
  • 04/05 (83 points) - 16 points from first 6 games, finishing 2nd, 12 points behind winners Chelsea
  • 03/04 (90 points) – 14 points from first 6 games, winning the League
  • 01/02 (87 points) – 11 points from first 6 games, winning the League

14 points or more from opening 6 games

  • 07/08 – 83 points, finishing 3rd, 4 points behind winners Man Utd
  • 04/05 – 83 points, finishing 2nd, 12 points behind winners Chelsea
  • 03/04 - 90 points, winning the league
  • 02/03 – 78 points, finishing 2nd, 5 points behind winners Man Utd

Thanks for reading, comments and feedback appreciated.

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