The title is now undoubtedly in Manchester City’s hands. Arsenal have now drawn three of their last five games, which leaves them five points ahead of City. However, the Mancunians have two games in hand.
One of those games is against Arsenal.
Arsenal will travel to the Etihad Stadium to face the current Premier League champions. If Arsenal were to lose this game, accusations of Arsenal throwing away the title would be heard across the globe.
On Football Saturday, host John Duggan asked former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson whether Arsenal have thrown away the title.
“Yeah, I do,” said Lawrenson. “I think, obviously, in two of those games, they were two nil up, certainly Anfield and then obviously the second game as well, and they had kind of capitulated a little bit. Remember when Bournemouth almost beat them, didn't they? Now, last night with Southampton, there is just something a little bit wrong there.
“They have not really changed the way they play, but I think it is like anything, John, to win that competition, sometimes you just have to win ugly. Nevertheless, the main thing for me was if you are not conceding goals with the quality of players, forward players and midfield players that Arsenal have got, they would have another four or five points on top of that.”
“That's their great problem. They will now be sat around the dressing room looking at each other and thinking what's gone wrong? So this is the time when you really, really need the manager to come up with something. Whatever he says, whatever he does.”
The journalist Johnny Ward then made the point to Lawrenson that maybe knowing Arsenal's need to win the match may put them in a stronger frame of mind.
“Because you didn't really fancy them anyway in the sense of if they go there, a draws fine,” said Ward. “At least it's kind of like it makes it a clear narrative as to what they need to do, whether they'll do it or not. I don't know what it might help.”
“Yeah, well, basically, as far as your mind is in towards thinking about the game and going to play, knowing you have to win is far better than actually thinking a draw is good enough. And I think it puts you in the right frame of mind, most definitely.”
“But I don't know what the manager is saying to the players, I don't know what the players feel, et cetera, but I would think privately, rather than publicly thinking, you know what, we've probably lost our chance. I mean, they've had an outstanding season, they've been a really good team.”
“But you cannot, at this stage of the season, come up with these results because in the end, Manchester City, who are relentless, will basically just win the competition.”
The match between Arsenal and Manchester City will take place this coming Wednesday, Off The Ball will be providing live commentary of this box office fixture.
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