Arsenal's terrible April record is rearing its ugly head again

  • Arsenal have endured a wretched eight days
  • Gunners exited Champions League on Wednesday night
  • Mikel Arteta's side have faltered in April in three successive seasons
Arsenal have endured a wretched eight days in April
Arsenal have endured a wretched eight days in April / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Arsenal entered April with a cautious sense of optimism.

Victory over FC Porto in the Champions League round of 16 set up a blockbuster quarter-final tie with Bayern Munich, while a stalemate at the Etihad was regarded by many as a good result. Mikel Arteta's side were well in the Premier League title race, and their mature, steely showing in Manchester symboilised a side capable of usurping Pep Guardiola's treble winners.

Discourse surrounding this treacherous month was kept to a minimum. Arsenal were unbeaten in the league in 2024, and they'd shown little signs of slowing down. What was there to fear?

Well, we're just over two weeks in and April has already taken its toll. It's the third season in a row the Gunners have come a cropper in the spring.

Arsenal's terrible April record is rearing its ugly head again

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal have so far failed in crunch time. The goalposts have changed considerably since the 2021/22 campaign when the club was competing for a top-four berth, but misery has ensued following the arrival of British Summer Time like clockwork.

Two seasons ago, April defeats to Crystal Palace, Southampton, and Brighton proved critical in their eventual failure to make the top four. Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney's injuries - as well as inexperience - were mitigating factors.

Last year, the Gunners threw away a pair of two-goal leads to West Ham and Liverpool before inexplicably drawing at home to bottom-dwellers Southampton. The results set the stage for a 4-1 defeat the Etihad, with Manchester City waltzing to the title. Once again, injuries played a big role down the stretch.

This time around, however, Arteta cannot bemoan key absences for Arsenal's April woes. A wretched eight days has seen the Gunners lose twice and miss a huge opportunity at home to Bayern Munich.

Arsenal faded badly in the second half against Aston Villa, eventually losing 2-0, and it was a similar story in Munich. Manuel Neuer didn't have a save to make after Joshua Kimmich headed the hosts in front. The squad looks battered, with its core members feeling it the most. Declan Rice struggled to assert himself over the two legs against Bayern Munich, while Bukayo Saka has completed more hobbles than any other statistical metric in recent weeks.

The Gunners' squad is certainly deeper than its ever been under the Spaniard, but the boss continues to place his faith in a select few. Seven players have played over 3,000 Premier League and Champions League minutes this season. Another five have notched over 1,500.

There are certainly improvements to be made, and it's understandable as to why Arteta likes to work with a smaller squad, but surely smarter utilisation of those he has at his disposal would've failed to result in this current malaise.

There's certainly no shame in losing to a fine Villa side or a European juggernaut like Bayern, but the manner of the defeats point towards greater concern. How can Arsenal pick themselves up and go again, with their schedule unrelenting, when they look this tired? Arteta's side can't function without its intensity.