Arsenal’s draw at Southampton on Sunday afternoon may have dampened some spirits on the red side of north London, but that shouldn’t take away from the excellent start they’ve made to the 2022/23 campaign.
The Gunners’ point at St. Mary’s was just the second time they’ve dropped points all season as they currently sit two points ahead of Manchester City at the Premier League summit.
Progressive coaching and savvy recruitment have been key to Arsenal’s rapid rise this season after their promising 2021/22 campaign ended in disappointment following a stuttering conclusion. However, this Arsenal squad is both qualitatively superior and deeper compared to its most recent predecessor, and their blazing start to the new season has many wondering just how far the Gunners can go.
No Arsenal side in Premier League history had accumulated more points through ten league games than Arteta’s young Gunners (27) this time around, but the draw at Southampton means they have their work cut out if they’re to record the club’s best-ever start to a Premier League season.
So, when did this lightning-fast start to a league campaign arrive? Let’s take a look.
Remarkably, Arsenal’s best-ever start to a Premier League season arrived during a campaign in which they failed to win the title.
Arsene Wenger’s Gunners began the 2007/08 season with 11 wins from their opening 14 games, drawing the other three. That left them with 36 points, meaning that if the current Arsenal outfit win their next three games against Nottingham Forest, Chelsea, and Wolves, they will usurp the 07/08 side.
Arsenal claimed a victory away from home in the north London derby during their imperious start 15 years ago, while they picked up draws against Manchester United and Liverpool.
Their first defeat didn’t arrive until Matchday 16 when they were beaten 2-1 by Middlesbrough. That was one of just three defeats Arsenal would sustain all season, but their string of draws in February and March would derail their title charge.
The infamous 2-2 draw at Birmingham City, the game in which Martin Taylor broke Eduardo’s leg, is regarded by many as the day Arsenal’s 2007/08 campaign collapsed as they eventually finished third, four points adrift of champions United.
If an Erling Haaland-led Manchester City side wasn’t in the mix, then quite possibly.
Pep Guardiola’s champions are breathing down Arsenal’s neck at the top and it’s only a matter of time until the Cityzens usurp the Gunners before eventually winning the league by ten plus points. That’s the harsh reality.
Arsenal’s rebuild is only starting to take off, and they’re at least a year or two away before they can compete with City as Liverpool did. Currently, Arteta doesn’t boast the squad depth to forge a title challenge with fatigue already creeping into the Gunners’ performances.
But, who knows; a Haaland injury could shackle City and a tight battle could ensue. Arsenal appear to be the best placed team to challenge the champions if a competitor does emerge during the back end of the season.