Daily Archives: May 1, 2023
Knocked Off the Summit, and Yes, it Hurts
Man City defeated Fulham yesterday to finally go to the top of the Premier League, for the first time since February 2023, when they defeated Arsenal at that top of the table clash. The win at Craven Cottage put Man City on 76 points, with a game less than their title rivals, Arsenal, who are currently on 75 points. Man City has a favorable run of West Ham (H), Leeds (H), Everton (A), Chelsea (H), Brighton (A) and Brentford (A), while Arsenal has Chelsea (H), Newcastle (A), Brighton (H), Nottingham Forest (A) and Wolves (H). In this title run, Brighton can play the role of party poopers, but with teams having their own ambitions, like trying to stay within the division.
Arsenal had been at the summit of the Premier League for a considerable chunk of this campaign and looked odds to win their first title in 19 years, but when the ill-fated run of four winless games has come back to haunt the Gunners as the pendulum has swung to Man City’s favor, and unfortunately, the Cityzens have the experience, depth and quality to see this one out. Kevin de Bruyne was the star of the show when Man City waltzed past Arsenal to cut the gap to two points, but he wasn’t even available for selection against Fulham, and Julian Alvarez, who played in his stead, turned out to be the Man of the Match. That’s where the quality and depth comes to the fore. Arsenal on the other hand, has been without William Saliba for quite some time, and Mikel Arteta has confirmed he has not improved, but his replacement, Rob Holding, has been culpable for some of the frailties suffered in the Arsenal defense.
It’s not like all Arsenal’s defensive problems rest solely on Holding’s shoulders, as Thomas Partey has stunk all over the place, Granit Xhaka has had his bouts of illness, and the once dependable Gabriel has not covered himself in glory. When you add the glaring unnecessary errors leading to goals, like Aaron Ramsdale against Southampton, you can see why there has been a capitulation in grand style.
What’s more painful with the dropped points is the fact that the teams that robbed points off Arsenal have gone on continue their struggles elsewhere. West Ham came back from two goals down against the Gunners went on to lose to Liverpool and Crystal Palace. Southampton had lost to Brentford, Man City and Crystal Palace before sharing the spoils with Arsenal, only to continue their losing streak against Bournemouth and Newcastle.
Arsenal’s only hope of winning the Premier League at this point is to depend on other teams to take points off Man City, which wasn’t what we as the supporters hoped. With Arsenal leaving other competitions quite early, the expectation was for Mikel Arteta’s men give their all to ensure they went past the finish line in the Premier League. Sadly, it didn’t turn out that way and it seems only a second place finish, since 2015/16 is on the cards, but there will be that air of disappointment, bearing in mind that Arsenal had been at the top for pretty much the entirety of the season.
Arsenal has been knocked off the summit, and yes, it hurts.
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