Football

Arsenal vs Manchester City: A Showdown for Premier League Supremacy

A fortnight ago, Arsenal had an eight-point lead over Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s charges have reduced this to four points despite fighting on three fronts. Both sides will be meeting each other before the curtain is drawn on the 2022/23 campaign, a match that will decide the Premier League title.

Four of the last five Premier League title trophies have landed at the Etihad Stadium. The Citizens have been in pursuit of the Gunners since Christmas and they are closing in on their target.

Even the most ardent Arsenal fans will admit ruling out City from the title race would be folly, even with the eight-point advantage they had. That has now been reduced to four points and will take the title race to the wire if City win the upcoming meeting between the two sides.

Gunners have Wenger’s blessings

The current crop of players has not been in title-winning situations and it is common for a slump in results. Arsene Wenger was unfazed by Arsenal’s dip in form and believes this is part of the process.

The legendary manager attributed it to nerves and believes once the Gunners are overcome this hurdle, they will find it easy to negotiate further challenges that come their way. Wenger advised the players to not overthink winning but trust the process that got them this far.

“Arsenal and these players have not been in the position to win the league before.

“Hopefully they win it this year and next year it will be easier. But now, when you have never won it, there will be a moment in the season when the tension comes in.

“When you start thinking more about the need to win than the process and how to play, it gets difficult. I felt that at Arsenal when I was there too.’

Arsenal Remain Favourites to Triumph

While Arsenal keeps their lead, bookmakers have slashed the Manchester club’s chances as outsiders to genuine challengers. With the Gunners short on experience and City already winning the title in similar circumstances during the 2018/19 campaign, it is easy to under the rationale.

Wenger does not believe such theories and has full faith in Arsenal players being masters of their own destinies. With the mathematical advantage on their side, they can deny City a second-successive title defence.

“No, no, no. I would say Arsenal still [will win the title],” Wenger exclaimed.

“What you want in this position is to have things in your hand. If Arsenal win their games, they win the league so that’s an ideal position with a few games to go.

“Of course, Man City have an opportunity when they play Arsenal and that could be the decider in the championship.

“I still fancy Arsenal, I’m not completely objective here, but I do. We will also have to see how much the Champions League takes out of Man City.”

Gunners Running on Fumes

As we enter the final stretch of the 2022/23 campaign, Arsenal’s title bid is imploding. While they have held their end of the bargain, the numbers are starting to pile up against them.

The Gunners were found wanting in their draws with Liverpool and West Ham with their defence coming under question. Those doubts have increased with William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko’s absence from first-team affairs increasing.

Alongside Bukayo Saka, the duo are the first name on the team sheet. Arteta has conceded that they will not be available for selection in the short-term and need time to heal properly.


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About the author

Owais Khan

Profiling the beautiful game for over a decade, Owais is a business analyst turned sports writer. He has covered football in the maidans of Pakistan and has transitioned to watching 1860 Munich in 3. Liga.