The 2017-18 campaign marks the first season Arsenal have been mere Champions League spectators since the 1999-2000 season. We have enjoyed a run of unprecedented success under Arsene Wenger for the better part of two decades, but we currently find ourselves in a bit of a down swing.
At this point of the season, most sportsbooks you can rely on will list the Gunners’ odds of qualifying for next season’s Champions League as rather slim. Through 30 matches in the Premier League, Arsenal are sixth on 48 points, a good eight points south of Chelsea, who sit fifth. Leapfrogging two of Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool isn’t going to happen at this point.
Finding our way into the top-four at this point looks incredibly unlikely, though we do have a chance to qualify by winning the Europa League. It appears we will go into the next reason having picked up a 2-0 win in Italy over AC Milan in the first leg of their round of 16 clash. While a quarterfinal appearance looks likely at this point considering the return leg will go down in North London, European giants like Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid or Sporting could be looming in the later rounds.
Arsenal were able to pick up a rather easy 3-0 victory over Watford in the league this past weekend, but there were thousands of empty seats at the Emirates for the occasion. The club managed to sell 59,131 of a possible 59,867 seats for the game, but, clearly, plenty of supporters decided against making the trip.
When asked whether he is concerned regarding the relative lack of support, Wenger said, “Of course I worry because I want our fans to be behind our team and be happy. But after what happened in that week (against City) it’s a bit understandable.
The aforementioned triumph over Watford ended a three-match losing streak in the league. The Gunners were also trounced 3-0 in the final of the Carabao Cup by Manchester City in the middle of that Premier League skid. The dip in performance is likely the reason for the dip in attendance.
Wenger added, “We are in a job where we have to get the fans on our side and do absolutely everything to achieve it. That’s what we want to do.”
While Wenger is certainly mindful that his side’s struggles have discouraged fans, he went on to say, “I don’t know how much negativity is out there. I focus on my job. I think I’ve shown in 22 years that I can do that, that I’ll respect everyone’s opinion and focus on my job with total commitment.”
Arsenal face an uphill climb for the remainder of the season, but Wenger will be optimistic that the triumph over Watford combined with the aforementioned Europa League win may serve as a springboard for the rest of the year.
Wenger’s attendance concerns are valid, but Arsenal have still drawn 889,426 total fans through 15 home matches. That ranks third in the Premier League behind Manchester United and Tottenham.