The English Premier League (EPL) is gearing up for an intense finish as surprise leaders, Arsenal, try to maintain their narrow lead against the defending champions, Manchester City.
While Manchester City has been a regular contender for the title in the past decade, Arsenal finds themselves in the midst of a title race after a long drought. The Gunners’ last league title win was back in the iconic invincible season of 2003/04, while City has clinched six titles since then, including four in the last five seasons.
Under the masterful leadership of Pep Guardiola, Manchester City has become the face of the Premier League in the 2010s, setting new standards in English football with their financial prowess and tactical acumen. They have established themselves as the top force in the league, consistently competing for titles.
On the other hand, Arsenal has struggled in recent years, failing to qualify for the prestigious UEFA Champions League for seven consecutive seasons, which was once a norm for the club. Even under their legendary former manager, Arsene Wenger, who guided them to 22 consecutive seasons of Champions League qualification, the Gunners faced a decline towards the end of his reign and continued to struggle under subsequent managers, including Unai Emery.
However, the appointment of former Arsenal captain, Mikel Arteta, as their manager has brought about a positive change. While Arteta started off with an FA Cup win, he has transformed Arsenal from top-four contenders to genuine title challengers this season. Currently sitting at the top of the table with a six-point lead over City, Arsenal has shown remarkable progress under Arteta’s guidance.
But defending their lead won’t be easy, as they are chased by arguably the best team in Europe. City has shown resilience and determination, exemplified by their recent 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals. Pep Guardiola’s side has a reputation for hunting down league leaders, and with a game in hand and a crucial showdown against Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium, they are well-positioned to win their third successive title.
If City wins all their remaining nine games, they will be in control, unless Arsenal can surpass their superior goal difference. A win or draw for Arsenal at the Etihad could be a turning point in the season, putting them in a favorable position. If Arsenal can maintain their lead and secure the title, it would be a remarkable achievement in EPL history. On the other hand, if City manages to catch up and clinch the title, it would further solidify their status as the most dominant team in the Premier League’s 31-year history.