Home Sports Arsenal’s Premier League title race remains intriguing

Arsenal’s Premier League title race remains intriguing

0 comment

Arsenal’s home defeat by Premier League champions and title rivals Manchester City that knocked them off the top of the table carried all the hallmarks of a defining moment in their season.

If it was, the Gunners’ response since then has been truly outstanding and the 4-0 thrashing of hopeless Everton at Emirates Stadium delivered thrilling confirmation that Arsenal are in this title race to stay.

Arsenal’s third successive win since the 3-1 defeat by City gives clarity to the task in front of them as they are now five points clear with 13 games remaining, the same as Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta’s side had been passing tests all season, showing a new steel and resilience to answer lingering questions about their character, but the loss to City at Emirates Stadium on 15 February felt different.

Arsenal had been at full tilt to hit top spot while City had been muddling along well short of their best – yet Pep Guardiola’s men raised their game to put the Gunners away and deliver what felt like a hefty psychological blow.

How would Arsenal respond? How would Arteta respond? Would the Gunners crumble or could they gather themselves again in the face of such a desperate disappointment? In other words, would they hold their nerve?

Plenty of observers, including this one, wondered if this would be the day Arsenal might crack under the pressure exerted by City, who have been successful over this course and distance so many times.

The answers have been provided emphatically after three potentially tough tests away to Aston Villa and Leicester City as well as at home Everton.

Villa were beaten because Arsenal simply refused to accept one point, sealing three in added time for a 4-2 win. The Foxes were overcome with the efficiency of Arsenal sides of old with a 1-0 victory. Everton were dismantled 4-0 with the fluency that has marked out their splendid season.

Three games. Three wins. Arsenal’s position of authority at the Premier League summit restored.

Arsenal were under scrutiny for any signs of weakness after they were beaten by Manchester City. None has been evident. The Gunners have shown the mentality and ability to take blows – indeed, remember they also lost to the Everton side beaten so easily on Wednesday – that champions are made of.

They may not end the season on top as there will be twists and turns to come, but make no mistake this thrilling Arsenal side is only heading in one direction under Arteta.

Arsenal had to play a game of patience against Sean Dyche’s side, who provided obstinate opposition for the first 40 minutes and were helped by the fact Everton are abject when they get into any position of danger.

The big moment came when Oleksandr Zinchenko and Bukayo Saka unlocked the door shortly before half-time. After that, Arsenal burst through it.

Saka caught Idrissa Gueye dozing to set up Gabriel Martinelli for the second on the stroke of the break and that was game over because Everton have not scored more than one goal in 15 games, stretching back to the 3-0 win against Crystal Palace on 22 October.

Martin Odegaard and Martinelli added the flourishes in the second half, while Arsenal wasted other opportunities to make this a thoroughly humiliating night for Everton, who could have lost by even more.

There was further good news for Arsenal when Thomas Partey came on for the second half to exert his influence in midfield, while the strength of Arteta’s squad was emphasized by the introduction of Kieran Tierney, Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah and Fabio Vieira as substitutes.

The sight of Gabriel Jesus back on the grass this week after knee surgery only increases the feel-good factor swirling around the club.

Arteta’s delight at the final whistle was understandable. His side have found Everton, and Dyche in his Burnley guise, a difficult proposition in recent times. Here, once they had the lead, they were ruthless.

The Gunners could have felt sorry for themselves after the loss to Manchester City. Instead, they have reacted in the manner that says they are not going away.

Big games, big results – and the Premier League title race is in Arsenal’s hands once more.


You may also like

Leave a Comment