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Comparing Manchester United And Arsenal’s Success In The 2023/24 Season

by Ozymandias
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ten hag of manchester united and mikel arteta of arsenal

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If life is indeed unfair, it certainly was not fair to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal this season.

Last season, Arsenal had the youngest team in the Premier League. They scored the most goals and conceded the fewest. The Gunners also had the second-highest number of wins (28) in their history in the Premier and with 89 points accumulated, all of this was not enough to win the Premier League title.

They lost out to the ruthless Manchester City.

Arsenal also ended the season trophyless despite the impeccable performances they put out in the four competitions they played. They also had to endure a similar fate in the 2022/23 season. Double whammy.

arsenal players sad

Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United side was a big contrast to Arsenal last season. Last season is one that fans of the Red Devils will want to forget very quickly. The bad records they broke are indeed a very bad stain on the 20-time Premier League champions.

  • Lowest-ever Premier League finish (8th)
  • Most defeats in a Premier League season (14)
  • Most home defeats in a season (9)
  • Allowed the most shots on target (360)

After the Premier League campaign concluded, Manchester United now had an FA Cup final (which by some miracle and controversies they reached) to look forward to. Many expected the Red Devils to outrightly lose the final against recently crowned champions Manchester City. 

Manchester United had the odds greatly stacked against them. Manchester City have already defeated them twice this season, they are the recently crowned Premier League champions, under Pep Guardiola, they have never lost a domestic final, etc.. the list goes on.

A major twist of fate happened when Manchester United indeed defeated Pep Guardiola’s side 2-1 in the FA Cup final. It was the general consensus that Ten Hag’s side would lose the final and in a couple of days he would get sacked. However, after winning the final, it was now a 50-50 decision as to whether the former Ajax coach would get axed.

ten hag win fa cup

A couple of days ago, the Manchester United management announced that Ten Hag would stay on as coach and a contract extension is even being discussed. 

The world of football is indeed full of paradoxes. In the 2023/24 season, Arsenal put out one of the best performances in their history while Manchester United put out one of the worst performances in their history. It is also worth noting that Mikel Arteta’s side defeated United the two times they met last season.

However, the former did not win any trophy while the latter won the FA Cup. There is currently a heated debate as to whether Manchester United had a more successful season than Arsenal. 

If you analyze this situation critically with all biases aside, Manchester United were indeed more successful than Arsenal last season. Let’s use Liverpool’s performance in 2013/14 as a case study.

That year, the Reds played by far their best football while Brendan Rodgers was manager. Striker Luis Suarez was in beast mode that year.  Despite missing Liverpool’s first 5 matches in the Premier League that season due to a controversial incident against Chelsea the previous season, El Pistolero finished that season as the Premier League’s top goal scorer and also won the Premier League Player of the Season award. 


With this stellar performance, the Reds unfortunately did not win the Premier League title in 2013/14. Manchester City won it. In fact, they did not win any trophy that season.

Hardly anyone remembers Luis Suarez and Liverpool’s accomplishments that year because there was no trophy to crown off their achievements. It is a sad fate but that’s just how football works.

Arsenal is facing literarily the same dilemma. There is no trophy to justify their stellar performances last season. Trophies are what gets a player and clubs remembered in the history books. In 10 years time, do you think anyone would remember that Arsenal scored the most goals and conceded the fewest in the 2023/24 season? Your guess is as good as mine.

As for Manchester United, despite their overall abysmal performance, they have something to show off from the 2023/24 season. In 10 or even 100 years from now, it will be permanently present in the history books that they were the FA Cup champions in 2024.

Consistency and determination are 2 major tenets of football. Mikel Arteta has a set of very talented players at his disposal. It’s kind of sad that they have failed to win any trophy in the past 2 seasons to crown off their hard work. There is no reason they should not go hard next season and compete for a major trophy.

arteta training with arsenal players

Many predict that the 2024/25 Premier League season will be a 2-horse race between Arsenal and Manchester City. Jurgen Klopp has left Liverpool and Arne Slot, the new manager might require some time to transform the squad into world beaters. Ten Hag is going to stay on as Manchester United manager and many believe he does not possess the qualities to give the club a competitive edge. The projects at both Chelsea and Tottenham are still very much a work in progress and very far from being finished.

They say the third time is the charm. Who knows, Arsenal might just catch their lucky break in the 2024/25 season. Or maybe not.


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