GUNNERS UNDER FIRE
Arsenal begin to falter as Manchester City’s unrelenting chase for another Premier League title gathers pace
The enthralling Premier League title race is set for a tight finish with the champion likely to come from next week’s top of the table clash.
Arsenal are currently at the summit of the Premier League table having won an impressive 23 of the 31 matches they’ve played so far this season.
With 74 points accumulated in the middle of April and only three defeats suffered all season, Mikel Arteta’s men should be a shoo-in for the title.
But the team chasing the leaders aren’t the usual standard, in fact they’re extraordinary and have built up a reputation as serial winners in the Premier League.
Manchester City have won four of the last five Premier League titles with perennial runners-up Liverpool wedging a title win in between.
And with just a handful of matches left in the season, the reigning champions are mounting a title charge. Manchester City have won their last seven matches in the league and are currently on 70 points, with one match in hand over Arsenal.
Arsenal can feel City’s sharp breath breathing down their necks, as they slipped from a two-goal lead to drawing 2-2 in their previous two matches — against Liverpool and West Ham respectively. This after winning their last seven matches before last weekend.
“When I see a team playing with that flow at 2-0 certainly it’s not the pressure,” Arteta told reporters after the draw against West Ham. “It’s that we misunderstood what the game needed in that moment.”
Having taken a 2-1 lead Arsenal were awarded a penalty in the 51st minute against West Ham. Starlet Bukayo Saka got under the ball as the penalty flew over the posts.
Two minutes later, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen struck back at the other end with a well-timed volley to tie the score as the sides remained deadlocked until the final whistle.
“There is a moment where you could go 3-1 up after 50 minutes and probably the game is over. Two minutes after that you concede the equaliser. This is part of football,” added Arteta.
“My worry is after 2-0 that we made that huge mistake and didn’t understand what the game required. At that moment we gave them hope.”
Arsenal’s lack of ruthlessness against West Ham has provided hope to Man City too — a team Arteta used to work for as assistant coach to Pep Guardiola.
“When the game is there for the killing you have to do it. Today we haven’t done it,” the Spaniard added.
“The last thing we want in our brains is to not have the confidence to kill the game when you can do it.”
History of chasing
In the 2018/2019 season, Manchester City edged out recent rivals Liverpool for the Premier League title.
Liverpool had lost only one match all season, accumulated 97 points — the fourth highest in Premier League history — but were still pipped, by one point, to the title by Manchester City who went on a 14-match winning streak to claim the league win.
And the 2022/23 version of Man City have a new threat, that of Erling Haaland. The Norwegian striker, in his first season with the club, has already scored 32 goals this season — the tied most in a 38-game season — with eight matches still to play.
Although Manchester City will have their focus split with one eye on the Champions League — a competition the dominant side have never won.
Arsenal on the other hand, only have the Premier League to focus on, a title they haven’t won since their invincible season, under Arsene Wenger, in 2003/04.
Arsenal are currently the log leaders but both teams have their future — in the Premier League — in their own hands — whoever wins all their remaining matches will hold the trophy aloft on 28 May.
The two sides meet next week, on 26 April, the result of the fixture will play a massive role in determining who this season’s Premier League champions will be. DM