What more could Arsenal have done?

The Premier League title is not out of reach for the Gunners, but it will take a miracle to clinch it from Manchester City's hands.
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It’s the hope that kills you, isn’t it?

Arsenal fans will wholeheartedly agree as they gear up for the final matchday of the Premier League season. The league title is still in reach, and so long as it is, there is hope in the air. In a season where the Gunners have broken their record for most wins in a PL season — 27 this season compared to 26 from the 2003/04 Invincibles season — they still don’t hold their fate in their own hands.

That is how dominant Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have been. Over the last few seasons, perhaps more than ever before, Manchester City have increasingly begun to feel a bit like a big multinational corporation. This MNC character (pun not intended, but surely not entirely coincidental) has probably come about overwhelmingly more so after City were charged with 115 breaches of Premier League financial regulations last year. 

Not unlike a large business operation, they just keep expanding, using unlimited injected funds to buy the best talent. They are mechanical and methodical, practically to a tee. They carry the same unethical air about them that most corporations do, including the almost-laughable feigned innocence. And they even have the handful of internal promotions that every MNC boasts. If non-Mancunians needed any more reason to dislike the club, there it was. So much so that lately, even Guardiola isn’t sure how much the distaste has grown.

It undoubtedly will, but don’t let any of this take away from just how brilliant this team and these players are under Guardiola. Criticism of the ownership and the club’s financial dealings are more than warranted, but the football itself? Outstandingly consistent.

Without even taking into account the numerous impressive statistics there must be to prove this point, the simple fact is that before Guardiola’s arrival in the Premier League, achieving 90 points in a season was an incredible feat that, barring an absurd anomaly, practically guaranteed you the title. Now, it’s the bare minimum that a team needs to achieve to even challenge for the title, let alone actually win it.

Put simply, Manchester City are a gargantuan behemoth, a Goliath in the world of football, slaying just about anyone and everyone who comes in their way. A win or draw over Aston Villa this weekend will make it four consecutive Premier League titles and their sixth inside seven years, regardless of the result Arsenal achieve. A City loss coupled with an Arsenal win over Everton, however, would mean that Arsenal win the Premier League for the first time since the Invincibles did it in 2004.

As it has so many times before, the title is going down to the very last matchday and the teams have everything to play for. And as the Premier League has taught us time and again, anything can happen on the final day. Arsenal fans will be praying for a miracle and City fans will hope that their ever-present consistency comes to the fore one final time this season.

Arsenal, to their credit, have been immense this season, even more so than last year. 86 points with 27 wins, least number of goals conceded in the league (28) and highest goal difference (61).

What more can they do?

The simple answer is nothing.

Unlike previous seasons, should Manchester City secure a win and the title, it won’t be entirely heartbreaking for Arsenal. Or rather, it shouldn’t be. To go toe-to-toe with this Manchester City side across an entire season, taking it down to the very final day and having the margin of loss more than likely be just two points is a brilliant achievement in itself. With a financial boost from their deep Champions League run, along with most key players already on long term deals, the future looks bright for Arsenal. Mikel Arteta has imparted not just a style of play, but a philosophy and a mentality that will serve this young crop of players very well.


Regardless of what happens on the final matchday, it’s safe to say that across the season, Arsenal have achieved about as much as they have lost. There is a hunger in this team and a desire to compete that the Premier League has not seen outside of City since the golden days of Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The standards have now been set and the bar has been raised absurdly high. All they can do now is try and hope. But don’t forget, more often than not, it’s the hope that kills you.