Worn-out and clueless — Arsenal’s dramatic decline shows they’re title pretenders

 Worn-out and clueless — Arsenal’s dramatic decline shows they’re title pretenders

Wednesday’s clash between Manchester City and Arsenal was touted to be the biggest game of this year’s English Premier League (EPL) season.

But at the end, it was a huge gap between expectations and reality.

The match will dominate discussions for weeks to come, and expectedly so.

It was a game that saw Arsenal literally relinquish their long-held title bid to City.

Both teams were a stark contrast of each other on the night. City were symptomatic of a side desperate for success — compact, highly motivated, and clinical in front of goal.

Arsenal, on the other hand, appeared worn-out, clueless and generally unsure of their abilities and what was at stake.

Although City were the favourites to win the game given the results of their recent meetings, no one — including the writer — expected it to be a walk in the park for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland, and John Stones handed the defending champions a comfortable 4-1 victory.

“Man City’s last 12 Premier League games against Arsenal: WWWWWWWWWWWW. This is what you call dominance,'” says Israel Igiri, a sports analyst.

If anything, the game was a reality check for Mikel Arteta’s young and ambitious side.

It also demonstrated that they have been largely title pretenders — to the chagrin of fans, who obviously had high hopes for the season already.

At the most crucial stage of the season, Arsenal are crumbling. They lack the monster mentality required of champions to navigate the odds.

The City defeat means Arteta’s side only managed to pick three out of possible 12 points in four games.

They drew against Liverpool, West Ham, and Southampton, before losing to City in an embarrassing manner.

“Three (3) points from a possible 12 and you think they can still win the league?” Israel quipped.

It safe to say Arsenal’s title hopes are over, a confirmation of CrispNG’s earlier prediction.

They may still be at the top of the table with 75 points but they are only hanging by a thread as City, who are currently on 73 points, have two games in hand.

Arteta’s side will face Chelsea, Newcastle, Brighton, Southampton, Nottingham Forest before their last game of the season against Wolves.

On paper, these fixtures will not be an easy ride for Arsenal given the pressure on them at the moment, and the usual energy that often characterises the closing stages of the EPL season.

For long, they had fate on their side — and their destiny in their own hands. But they have largely fluffed those chances and now, they will rue not winning the much-coveted EPL, their only hope of clinching a silverware this season.

At the moment, Guardiola’s side are firing from all sides. With squad depth and players in great form, City looked poised to end the season on a high note as they gun for the UEFA Champions League and the EPL title.

For sure, this year’s EPL title is for City, Arsenal cannot pretend anymore.

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