King Power Stadium, Leicester, UK. 25th Feb, 2023. Premier League Football, Leicester City versus Arsenal; William Saliba of Arsenal

The Premier League table since Arsenal’s William Saliba got injured

Many people consider William Saliba’s injury to be the key turning point in Arsenal’s 2022-23 Premier League title challenge, and the numbers certainly strengthen that argument.

When Arsenal went into their Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon back in mid-March, they boasted a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League table and were increasingly being considered the favourites for the Premier League crown.

Sporting beat Arsenal on penalties that evening, which reduced their focus to just one front – 11 games away from securing a first league title since the unforgettable Invincibles’ campaign of 2003-04.

However, Saliba was withdrawn in the first half after suffering a back injury and hasn’t appeared for Arsenal since. In that time, Arsenal’s title charge has fallen away completely – it’s all but dead going into their final two matches, four points behind Manchester City having played a game more.

Saliba has since been ruled out for the remainder of the season and his ongoing contract situation – it expires next summer – is yet to be rectified.

“We want to keep our best talent. Especially the players that deserve some recognition,” Mikel Arteta told reporters earlier this month.

“I think he has been incredible since he came back from his loan period and we want to reward him, that is for sure. We will find the right moment to do that.”

Arteta’s Gunners actually responded well to Saliba’s setback in the immediacy; they made short working of Crystal Palace and Leeds United, beating them 4-1 at the Emirates, while everything continued to look on track as they took an early two-goal lead away to Liverpool in April.

However, Jurgen Klopp’s side came roaring back to draw 2-2 at Anfield and that result precipitated a season-defining wobble – further draws against West Ham and Southampton were followed by a 4-1 defeat at Manchester City.

Impressive victories over Chelsea and Newcastle followed, but a 3-0 home defeat to Brighton was the final nail in the coffin of Arsenal’s title challenge. Especially as over the same period Man City have won all their matches, picking up nine more points than Arsenal since Saliba’s injury.

In fact, seven clubs – including Aston Villa, Brighton and Crystal Palace – have picked up more points than Arsenal since Saliba’s injury.

They’re not the only big club to struggle in recent weeks, though. Tottenham have only picked up nine points from their last nine matches, the 14th-best record in the Premier League over that period, while Chelsea are suffering relegation form – only already-relegated Southampton have picked up fewer points since mid-March.

Here’s how the Premier League table stacks up since Saliba got injured on March 16th:

1. Manchester City – 24pts, +19 GD (Played 8)
2. Liverpool – 23pts, +10 GD (Played 10)
3. Newcastle – 22pts, +13 GD (Played 10)
4. Aston Villa – 22pts, +11 GD (Played 10)
5. Brighton – 16pts, +6 GD (Played 9)
6. Crystal Palace – 16pts, +4 GD (Played 9)
7. Manchester United – 16pts, +4 GD (Played 9)
8. Arsenal – 15pts, +4 GD (Played 9)
9. Bournemouth – 15pts, -6 GD (Played 10)
10. West Ham – 13pts, -4 GD (Played 10)
11. Wolverhampton – 13pts, -5 GD (Played 9)
12. Fulham – 12pts, +2 GD (Played 9)
13. Brentford – 12pts, 0 GD (Played 10)
14. Tottenham – 9pts, -6 GD (Played 9)
15. Nottingham Forest – 8pts, -5 GD (Played 10)
16. Leeds – 8pts, -14 GD (Played 10)
17. Everton – 7pts, -6 GD (Played 9)
18. Chelsea – 6pts, -6 GD (Played 9)
19. Leicester – 6pts, -9 GD (Played 10)
20. Southampton – 2pts, -12 GD (Played 9)

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