Arsenal have had an incredible season - losing to Man City and potentially the Premier League title doesn't change that

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The Gunners face arguably their biggest game in a generation on Wednesday against Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions

It’s the game that we’ve all been waiting for. It may not quite be winner takes all just yet, but Arsenal’s trip to Manchester City on Wednesday is certainly starting to feel like that because of what’s gone on during the past few weeks.

After seven straight wins in the Premier League, it looked like Mikel Arteta’s side were making light work of the unexpected position they were in at the top of the table.

But then they hit the bump that many were waiting all season for them to hit, drawing three successive games, at Liverpool, West Ham and at home to Southampton.

And with City finding top gear at the same time, the commanding lead Arsenal had at the top of the table disappeared almost in the blink of an eye.

The Gunners may head to the Etihad Stadium with a five-point advantage over City, but Pep Guardiola’s side crucially have two games in hand.

So a home win on Wednesday night would leave the champions on the verge of a third successive league title and leave Arsenal needing a miracle to end their long 19-year wait to get their hands on the Premier League trophy.

  1. 'If you want to be champions, you have to win those matches'

    'If you want to be champions, you have to win those matches'

    “It's going to be a tough night and challenge,” Arteta said. “But the opportunity is incredible for us. 

    “We knew from the beginning, if you want to win the Premier League, you have to go to Spurs and you have to beat them. You have to go to Chelsea and you have to beat them. 

    “This is what we've been doing. That's why we are here. Now we have to go to City and we have to beat them. 

    “If you want to be champions, you have to win those matches. It's as simple as that.”

    Wednesday night is a huge game for Arsenal. There’s no doubt about that.

    In terms of the Premier League, it could certainly be described as the biggest game the club has had in a generation.

  2. A gap has been bridged

    A gap has been bridged

    There will be lots of Arsenal fans who have never experienced a match as big of this.

    Those who were around during the start of the Arsene Wenger era know what to expect. Those titanic battles with Manchester United every season are a thing of a legend.

    Before that, when George Graham was at the helm, it was the games against Liverpool that would define a season.

    But it’s been a long time since Arsenal have dealt with games of such magnitude, such has been the size of the gap that has opened up between themselves and the Premier League’s top clubs over the past 15 years or so.

    At some points - some of which were as recent as a couple of years ago - it felt like that gap would never be bridged.

    But it has been, thanks to the incredible work done by Arteta and his coaching staff and some excellent recruitment in the transfer market.

  3. 'Incredible to be in the position we’re in'

    'Incredible to be in the position we’re in'

    The fact that Arsenal are going into a game as big as the one on Wednesday highlights how far they’ve come in such a short space of time. 

    And it shows why, whatever happens at the Etihad, this is a season that should be celebrated in north London.

    No-one included them in the title conversation when the season got underway, but here they are. Top of the table with May just around the corner.

    “We knew from the beginning that City was the team to beat, probably with Liverpool, because of what those teams have done in the last six or seven years,” Arteta said.

    “We wanted to close that gap as much as we possibly could, and we are toe-to-toe with them. It’s just incredible to be in the position we’re in.”

  4. A record-breaking campaign

    A record-breaking campaign

    Arsenal go into Wednesday’s game having won 23 of 32 league matches so far this season. No Arsenal side in history has ever won more games at this stage of a Premier League campaign, not even the Invincibles.

    And when you factor in that Arteta’s team have drawn their last three matches, that makes it even more remarkable.

    They have scored 77 goals during those 32 games. Again, that’s a number that no other Gunners team has even been able to hit at this stage of a season in the Premier League. The closest anyone came was in 2009-10, when Wenger’s side found the net 74 times.

    Arsenal have gone so far beyond expectation levels this season and they have given their fans so much to enjoy. They won at Tottenham and Chelsea, they’ve beaten Liverpool and Manchester United, and they’ve reconnected with a fanbase that had fallen out of love with their team.

    And of course, barring a collapse of epic proportions between now and the end of the season, they’ve secured Champions League football again for the first time since 2017.

  5. Catching Pep's eye
    Getty Images

    Catching Pep's eye

    When the season began in August, Champions League qualification was the aim of everyone at Arsenal. There was no talk of a title bid. It was all about a top-four spot, having been pipped so painfully to the post by Spurs last time out. 

    That’s what the target was and it’s a target that was secured a long time ago, albeit not mathematically.

    “Mikel changed the structure of the club,” Guardiola said on Tuesday, while discussing Arsenal’s improvement. “He changed a lot of players. He has been supported by the hierarchy of the club and that is why the success is there.

    “Arsenal in the last years never was there and this season [they] make another step because all season they have been there. I have been impressed, they have been really good."

  6. The fairy-tale ending?
    (C)Getty Images

    The fairy-tale ending?

    It’s been a season to remember at Arsenal. There have been so many special moments and Arteta will desperately be hoping there are a couple more to come in the remaining six games, starting at the Etihad on Wednesday.

    But if things do not go their way and City go on and claim yet another title, there will be nothing for Arsenal to feel ashamed about.

    They’ve exceeded all expectations and given their fans so much to enjoy. It’s been a remarkable story. One that no-one expected.

    It now remains to be seen whether it gets the fairy-tale ending it perhaps deserves.