The 22/23 Premier League season is at an end and it’s Manchester City who have walked out with their fifth title in six seasons. Pep Guardiola’s superstars were deserved winners in the end, though the manner in which the title race ended was bitterly disappointing.
City’s opponents Arsenal ran City close for the majority of the season, but a stunning breakdown in form saw the Gunners limp toward the end of the season. Champions League football may be back at the Emirates, but the majority of Arsenal fans would say this is no consolation.
The Gunners were 8 points clear just a few weeks ago, but their title challenge started to fall apart on 16 April when they led a two-goal lead slip at the hands of a poor West Ham United team.
Draws to Liverpool and bottom-of-the-table Southampton followed, and the latter game really did showcase Arsenal’s inexperience in maintaining a lead. If it weren’t for the heroics of Martinelli and Odegaard, then Arsenal would have been defeated 3-1 at the hands of Saints.
The game against Manchester City followed on April 26 and it was here that Mikel Arteta’s men were only keeping the summit of the Premier League warm for the team below them.
Most expected a close affair, however City utterly outclassed the Gunners in defence, midfield, and attack in a 4-1 victory that swung the pendulum back into Guardiola’s favour.
If North London was going to receive its first Premier League trophy since 2004, the imperious Manchester City would have to drop points – something that they simply don’t do at the end of the season.Embed from Getty Images
The title race was still mathematically alive as recently as May 15, but Arsenal’s 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Brighton meant that City needed just one win to wrap up the title. City defeated Chelsea to lift the title, but they were already crowned champions thanks to Arsenal’s loss to Nottingham Forest.
Three defeats out of the last five games meant that Arsenal took just nine points from twenty-seven available in one of the biggest title-collapses in recent memory.
It’s true that Mikel Arteta’s men have had a stellar season and that they’ve lit-up the league with their young, hungry squad.
It’s also true that, prior to the season, Champions League qualification was the main target and not many people were expecting the Gunners to be as good as they have been. However, to be at the summit for 248 days this season with nothing to show for it is massively disappointing and ‘collapse’ is the only suitable word to use.