On Sunday, many expected Arsenal to bounce back from their disappointing 2-2 draw with Liverpool.
Such expectations are a measure of the standard Mikel Arteta’s side has set for themselves this season.
The game against struggling West Ham United started on a promising note — just like the Liverpool encounter.
Goals from Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard ensured a 2-0 lead for the Gunners ten minutes into the game.
But the game ended in another disappointment as West Ham staged a dramatic comeback to end the match 2-2.
The highlight of the game was Bukayo Saka’s penalty miss.
The Hale End graduate stepped up to the spot at a key moment in the London Stadium clash, with Arsenal 2-1 in front, but his effort from 12 yards was fired wide.
This is certainly not what many Arsenal fans expected from their beloved team at the moment.
After years of heartbreaks and frustrations, this season appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for the fans.
Recent realities, however, showed that might not be the case at the end of the season.
The draw against West Ham means they now maintain a narrow four-point lead over Manchester City, their main opponent in the title race this season, who have a game in hand.
Should Pep Guardiola’s side win their game in hand, that gap will reduce to one point.
On April 26, the two sides will clash in the race for the EPL title — a contest City are favourites to win given their form and recent encounters with the Gunners.
This means if City wins their outstanding game and thereafter defeats Arsenal, they will go two points clear at the top of the table.
More so, Arsenal face difficult and tricky fixtures as the season gradually closes in.
Beyond the showdown with Man City, Arteta’s side will face Chelsea, Newcastle, Brighton, Southampton, Nottingham Forest before their last game of the season against Wolves.
On paper, these fixtures will not be an easy ride for Arsenal given the pressure on them at the moment, and the usual energy that often characterises the closing stages of the EPL season.
For long, they had fate on their side — and their destiny in their own hands. But they have largely fluffed those chances and now need a rare miracle to win the much-coveted EPL.
“The title is gone, which miracle?” Israel Igiri, a sports analyst said, ruling out the possibility of Arsenal winning the EPL.
“Bottling 2-0 leads in two games show Arsenal are not ready. Manchester City have been here a lot of times. They relish moments like these.
“They are tested and trusted. They have done it over and over again. They did it in 2012 when they came back from behind to win the league. From 8 points down.
“In 2014, they did it as well. Against Liverpool. In 2019, they came back from 7 points behind Liverpool. Last season we saw what happened as well. City are mentality monsters.
“This is always the toughest stage of the season. Not everyone can survive the heat. Once it gets to this stage, City become something else. They become hard to stop.
“The only thing Arsenal are going to win this season is a Champions League ticket.
“On a second thought, inexperience on the part of Arteta could also be one of the things affecting Arsenal at this point. No baby coach has ever won the Premier League since its inception in 1992.”
At the moment, Guardiola’s side are firing from all sides. With squad depth and players in great form, City looked poised to end the season on a high note as they gun for the UEFA Champions League and the EPL title.
For now, only one thing can guarantee Arsenal winning the EPL — a rare miracle.