Arsenal’s six worst starts to a Premier League season & what happened next

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Arsenal have endured their worst-ever start to a Premier League season, losing all three of their opening games in 2021-22.

Mikel Arteta is coming under increasing pressure but the club reportedly believe that he can still turn things around and enjoy a successful season.

We’ve taken a look at their six worst starts to a Premier League season before 2021-22 to see what happened next. Note: we’ve only looked at their record after three games for each season.

1992-93: Three points

Arsenal won the First Division in 1991 but made a terrible start to life in the rebranded Premier League, losing 4-2 against Norwich City in the opener.

Things went from bad to worse when Alan Shearer scored a late winner for Blackburn Rovers in Arsenal’s first Premier League away game.

George Graham’s side got their first Premier League win at the third attempt as goals from Anders Limpar and Ian Wright gave them a 2-0 win against Liverpool.

The Gunners continued to struggle with inconsistency and finished 10th after recording just 56 points from 42 Premier League games.

Despite their disappointing league season, Arsenal did win the FA Cup and the League Cup in 1993, beating Sheffield Wednesday in both finals.

READ: Where are they now? Arsenal’s first Premier League XI from 1992

1994-95: Three points

Arsenal were looking to build on their fourth-placed finish from 1993-94 and recorded a 3-0 win over Manchester City on the opening day of the 1994-95 season.

They then lost back-to-back away games against Leeds United and Liverpool and their season started to spiral out of control.

Graham’s tenure at Arsenal came to an end in February 1995 when he was sacked for his role in English football’s bung scandal. 

Stewart Houston was then appointed as caretaker manager but won just four of his 13 Premier League games in charge and Arsenal finished 12th.

The Gunners did still reach the final of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup but former Tottenham midfielder Nayim scored the winner for Real Zaragoza.

READ: John Jensen: Why Arsenal weren’t boring, THAT bung, Venky’s & more

2017-18: Three points

After winning their third Community Shield in four years, Arsenal kicked off the Premier League season with a dramatic 4-3 win over Leicester City at the Emirates.

But their first away game of the season was a trip to Stoke and Jese gave the home side a 1-0 victory. The Gunners then produced an awful performance at Anfield, failing to register a single shot on target during a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Arsenal slowly turned things around and moved up the table but their away form continued to derail their progress in the league.

During the January transfer window, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrived at the club, while Alexis Sanchez left for Manchester United.

They were knocked out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest but reached the League Cup final, only to lose 3-0 against Manchester City.

Arsenal didn’t participate in the Champions League for the first time in 20 years and reached the Europa League semi-finals before losing 2-1 on aggregate to Atletico Madrid.

The Gunners finished sixth in the league and Arsene Wenger decided to step down at the end of the season after 22 years in charge.

2018-19: Three points

Unai Emery was appointed as Wenger’s successor in 2018 and made five first-team signings, bringing in Stephan Lichtsteiner, Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi.

The fixtures computer was a little unkind in giving Emery Manchester City for the first game of the season and Chelsea for the second one.

Arsenal lost both of those games and finally got some points on the board with a 3-1 win against West Ham United at the Emirates.

They then lost just one of their next 15 Premier League games, leaving them level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea on Christmas Day.

In the domestic cup competitions, Arsenal were knocked out by Manchester United and Tottenham. They went one better than 20187-18 and reached the Europa League final but then lost 4-1 against Chelsea.

The Gunners also ended the league season in poor form, losing four of their final seven games to finish fifth and one point behind Tottenham.

READ: The five kids handed Arsenal debuts by Unai Emery & how they’ve fared since

2006-07: Two points

After Arsenal lost the 2006 Champions League final to Barcelona, Dennis Bergkamp hung up his boots and Robert Pires left for Villarreal.

It was the start of a new era for the Gunners but their first competitive game at the Emirates saw them draw 1-1 with Aston Villa.

They then lost 1-0 away against Manchester City before Middlesbrough also frustrated them at their new home, holding on for a 1-1 draw.

But Arsenal got their season back on track with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford before recording their first victory at the Emirates, beating Sheffield United 3-0.

Wenger’s side reached the League Cup final, only for Didier Drogba to give Chelsea a 2-1 win at the Millennium Stadium. They were also knocked out of the Champions League by PSV Eindhoven and failed to get past Blackburn in the FA Cup.

Arsenal ended their Premier League campaign in fourth but they were still 21 points behind league winners Manchester United. 

2011-12: One point

Before the 2021-22 campaign, Arsenal’s worst start to a Premier League season came exactly 10 years earlier.

The Gunners drew 0-0 with Newcastle United in their opening game and Gervinho received a straight red card on his competitive debut.

Cesc Fabregas then completed his return to Barcelona and Samir Nasri followed him out of the door a few days later.

After Emmanuel Frimpong was sent off in their home game against Liverpool, an own goal from Aaron Ramsey and a last-minute strike from Luis Suarez saw the team fall to a 2-0 defeat.

Despite their poor start to the season, few could have predicted the 8-2 defeat that they would suffer away against Manchester United.

Arsenal reacted with four new signings, bringing in Park Chu-Young, Andre Santos, Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta before the transfer window shut.

Wenger’s side eventually began to turn things around, with Robin van Persie’s goals firing them up the league table.

Thierry Henry returned to the club in January 2012 and marked his second debut with a late winner against Leeds in the FA Cup.

But they would finish the season without silverware after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Sunderland and losing 4-3 on aggregate to AC Milan in the Champions League.

Arsenal still secured Champions League qualification with a third-place finish, finishing one point ahead of north London rivals Tottenham.

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