Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Arsenal's five toughest Premier League matches left in Man City title race

Arsenal continued their tremendous 2022/23 season on Saturday with an emphatic 4-1 win over Leeds United. Mikel Arteta’s side are now only nine games away from winning their first Premier League title in 19 years.

Gabriel Jesus marked his return to the team with his first Premier League goals since October. The striker’s brace coupled with strikes from Ben White and Granit Xhaka meant the Gunners ticked off another game in their run-in.

Following Manchester City’s 4-1 win over Liverpool, Arsenal remain eight points above their title rivals – though City do have a game-in-hand. The north Londoners continue to fend off the reigning champions to prove their doubters wrong.

This weekend’s trip to Liverpool will be the second of six fixtures this month. With so much to play for, there remain a number of tough tests for Arteta’s side to overcome. Here, football.london looks at the five toughest fixtures Arsenal are still to negotiate in their final nine games.

5. Brighton (H) – May 13

The Seagulls have been one of the Premier League’s surprise packages this season. Despite losing Graham Potter in September, Roberto De Zerbi has steadied the ship and has improved a number of players such as Kaoru Mitoma and Alexis Mac Allister.

Brighton have defeated the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal this season – and in some style. They sit sixth in the Premier League table and are on course to bring European football to the AMEX Stadium for the first time in their history.

Arsenal eased past the Seagulls with little trouble in the New Year’s Eve meeting – a 4-2 win – but since that result, Brighton have won nine games and lost only once. Welcoming them to the Emirates Stadium will be a tough task in May.

4. Chelsea (H) – April 29

Arsenal’s London rivals have been poor all season and are now without Graham Potter after Todd Boehly decided to sack the Englishman after less than seven months.

Their focus is solely on their Champions League quarter-final with Real Madrid, but their trip to the Emirates Stadium will come after their double- header with the European champions.

If the meeting earlier in the season is anything to go by, Arsenal have little to worry about. However, Boehly has since smashed the British transfer record and bolstered the quality of the side. Form goes out the window in these games and Chelsea will want to wreck the Gunners’ title charge.

3. Liverpool (A) – April 9

Like Chelsea, Liverpool have had on a poor season overall. Jurgen Klopp’s side looked like they had turned their fortunes around when they dismantled Man United 7-0 but have since fallen to three straight defeats at the hands of Bournemouth, Real Madrid and Man City.

They sit eighth in the table and eight points off the top four. They had an opportunity to play their part in the title race at the weekend but were no match for City.

Arsenal visit Anfield this weekend knowing victory would be a big statement to begin their final nine games.

2. Newcastle (A) – May 6

Every Arsenal supporter remembers the last time Arteta’s men took on Newcastle on Tyneside. A Ben White own goal and Bruno Guimaraes strike all-but-ended the Gunners’ hopes of achieving a top four finish.

This season, both clubs have improved drastically. Newcastle find themselves in the race for a top four spot and recently came close to winning their first major trophy in 68 years. Come May, when Arteta takes his side to St James’ Park, the fixture could have much resting on it for both sides.

The Magpies have won their last three games – including a crucial 2-0 win over Man United – to move themselves up to third in the table. With Liverpool and Tottenham failing to be consistent, the opportunity is there for Newcastle.

1. Manchester City (A) – April 26

The game in every football fan’s diary. Arsenal’s trip to the Etihad Stadium could very well be the game that makes-or-breaks the Gunners’ title race. Win and it would be a momentous step towards history. Lose and Guardiola’s men will have the upper hand.

City have already defeated their title rivals twice this season and possess experience in coming out on top in these situations. But the opportunity that presents itself for the Gunners squad is an exciting one.

There will be 15 more points left to play for after this game. Right now, it would be fair to predict that whoever comes out on top in this clash will be the team celebrating at the end of May.

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