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Arsenal's exact Premier League title collapse feels like it's happened before

Ryan Sidle

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Arsenal's exact Premier League title collapse feels like it's happened before

Baddiel and Skinner's Three Lions song contains the line "they've seen it all before, they just know, they're so sure," and Arsenal's current title blip is giving some very familiar vibes.

The Gunners once again dropped points on Friday night, to Southampton, meaning they've drawn all three of their previous Premier League games.

Before this run, Mikel Arteta's side had won seven league games on the bounce, after losing to Manchester City, and looked certain to make it eight, when they were 2-0 up against Liverpool.

However, they threw away two points in that game, with Aaron Ramsdale's heroics saving the final one, and did the same from two clear against West Ham.

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On Friday they were at least two goals down to the Saints, after just 14 minutes, and again in the 66th minute, before scoring two very late goals.

It wasn't enough to earn them all three points though, and ahead of their game with City, next Wednesday night, fans feel like the title is slipping away.

And now it's even being compared to what happened to Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool team, when they were ahead of Manuel Pellegrini's City side in 2014.

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Oleksandr Zinchenko's huddle

After going 2-0 down against the Saints, full back Zinchenko tried to get the players together to get them in a huddle and motivate the comeback.

In some ways it worked, as they got it back to 2-1, but the Ukrainian was blamed in part for the third goal for the visitors, and Gary Neville said the huddle was all a bluff.

It also reminded many of Steven Gerrard's 'we do not let this slip' huddle, after Liverpool had beaten City back in 2014, to secure their place at the top of the table.

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Dropping points from winning positions

Gerrard's slip, which followed the huddle, opened the door for the title to get away from them but they looked certain to bounce back a week later.

They were 3-0 up against mid-table Crystal Palace and strolling to three points, when I turned the game off, only the completely blow it and draw 3-3.

Arsenal's recent draws, one to Liverpool and one, more importantly, to West Ham United, had a similar feel to them, even if they were 'only' two goals up.

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Big game vs City

The title race looked like it would be settled at Anfield nine years ago, when Liverpool were visited by their closest rivals for the title.

It was the hosts that came out on top but with a few games still left of the campaign, they contrived to make that win irrelevant, something Gerrard would come to regret.

The Gunners now have to visit the Etihad Stadium, so a slight reversal, but, like Liverpool, it's a must not lose game for them, and should they come away with something, they then have to concentrate on the not slipping up against 'lesser' opposition.

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City’s games in hand

In 2014, Pellegrini's side's loss on Merseyside left the winners with just four games to play and a lead over both of their rivals.

Whilst the Reds obviously dropped points, it was the inevitability of City's wins, after their loss on Merseyside, that really put the pressure on.

The fact they had six extra points to play for helped as well, and, after drawing with Sunderland, they won the next five matches, only conceding three times and scoring 14, to lift the title.

It's the same again for the team from the Etihad Stadium, although the one difference this time is that they're still going for the treble, so perhaps the amount of games left will go against them.

Managers inexperienced at title challenges

Rodgers may have had quite a bit of experience behind him when it came to being in charge of Premier League clubs, but little of that was right at the top of the table.

Pellegrini had plenty of title successes in his career and a group of players who were serial winners too, and that made a big difference.

Like Rodgers, Arteta also bases his game on attacking football and also doesn't have the knowledge of getting over the finish line, even stuttering last season when the goal was finishing in the top four.

He does have the history of working as an assistant to Guardiola in title wins, but being the main man, especially against the master, is a different game altogether.

Saka and Sterling

They're obviously not the exact same players, but there's definitely some parallels to the young forwards who are important to the way their teams play/played.

Sterling only scored nine goals but he was part of an exciting front three, with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, and helped them play with electrical pace.

Saka has 14 goals so far and is arguably more important to his side but both were equally exciting, young, English player but were needed to help the sides function the way they needed to.

Interestingly Sterling would end up at City two years later, and the reigning champions have been linked with a future move for Saka too.

Playing Chelsea

In 2014, Liverpool got a win over Norwich City after beating their title rivals, and then faced Chelsea next, in the game that would define the season.

Arsenal don't have a match between Guardiola's side and Frank Lampard's team but dropping points to the Blues could be the end of the title race.

Nine years ago, Jose Mourinho's side were still in the title race but played like a team who were closer to the bottom of the league, as they played very defensively and tried to time waste, before hitting the freescoring Reds on the break.

It would be amazing if Lampard, with a huge number of attacking players who aren't scoring at his disposal, tries something similar.

Perhaps Zinchenko will slip up and allow Chelsea to score an important goal, stranger things have happened...

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Sky Sports

Topics: Football, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Premier League, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Steven Gerrard

Ryan Sidle
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