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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Mirror Football

Arsenal and Man City Premier League title question takes new twist after latest results

Arsenal's shock defeat to Everton at Saturday lunchtime reignited the possibility of a close title race.

But then, just over 24 hours later, Manchester City blew their chance to move to within two points of the Gunners when their trip to north London went awry - as Harry Kane's goal gave Tottenham a victory, and their neighbours a helping hand.

Effectively, the top of the Premier League stood still for a week - other than Manchester United closing the gap to the top two - but it did show the frailties of the main title contenders.

So, we asked our Mirror Football experts to nail their colours firmly to the mask and simply tell us: Who wins the Premier League now?

Andy Dunn

Arsenal's flimsy, faint-hearted performance at Goodison Park was alarming but it was their only capitulation of the season and can be filed as a one-off.

They began the match with the wrong attitude and it is hard to flick a switch mid-game.

Two home fixtures on the spin - one is against Manchester City but it seems they don’t like travelling to London - gives them a great chance to get back on track.

With all not quite right in the court of Pep, I reckon Mikel Arteta’s side will ‘only’ need 84 or 85 points to be sure of the title … and they will reach that sort of mark, possibly with a game or two to spare.

JOIN THE DEBATE: Who do you think will win the title? Comment here

Arsenal lost to Everton on Saturday (PA)

Manchester United and Newcastle United are solid but will drop points while Guardiola’s main focus will be on the Champions League.

With Pep’s tinkering, this City team is not going to go on some sort of outrageous winning run and that will leave Arsenal with a clear path to their first title since 2003/04.

Mike Walters

One mediocre performance in their bogey-ground bearpit at Goodison Park hasn't turned Arsenal into bottlers overnight.

I've thought for some time that the Gunners of 2023 are the Leicester City of 2016 - everyone expects them to blow a gasket, but two defeats in 20 games is hardly a crisis.

And from Mikel Arteta's point of view, it was a masterpiece of good timing when Manchester City failed to take advantage of Arsenal's slip-up by coming unstuck at Tottenham 24 hours later.

Just as we all thought Leicester would be reeled in seven years ago, the Gary Neville tendency keeps telling us City will overhaul the Gunners on the title run-in. But it ain't happening.

If Arsenal lose at home to Brentford next Saturday, then we may have to contemplate the wheels falling off - or, at the very least, the locking nuts loosening and the tyres needing a blast of air - but that ain't happening, either.

City are not what they were, Manchester United have too much ground to make up and Newcastle United for the title? You're having a laugh.

When all reasonable options for the title have been considered, and the judges' scores are in, the top three sensible choices will be Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal.

Neil McLeman

Erling Haaland reacts after Man City lost to Tottenham on Sunday (PA)

This was a massive weekend in the title race not because Arsenal lost - they were never going to go the rest of the season unbeaten - but because Manchester City could not capitalise.

All is not right with Pep Guardiola’s side, as shown by the shipping out of Joao Cancelo to Bayern Munich and their limp performance at Spurs yesterday. A fourth Premier League defeat of the season still means that even if City win their two matches against Arsenal to come - they meet at the Emirates Stadium next Wednesday - it probably won’t be enough to overtake the Gunners at the top.

The gap remains five points with the North London club still having a game in hand. Till now, and helped by the cancellation of their original September fixture and the World Cup, City have just not been able to put Arsenal under real pressure.

Arsenal’s New Year’s Eve win at Brighton finally convinced me that Mikel Arteta’s side were genuine title challengers. And it is still theirs to lose with 18 games remaining.

James Nursey

Arsenal still boast a five point lead at the top of the table (Getty Images)

Everton away was always going to be a very tricky test for the Premier League leaders as new boss Sean Dyche continued the trend of Goodison managers getting a result in their opening game.

The Gunners still had 71% possession and more shots than the hosts so it wasn't like they played especially badly. Eddie Nketiah blazed a great chance wide with a wild finish when he needed to show more composure.

But perhaps that miss can serve as a timely reminder to the young striker, 23, that he is still learning his trade and to be calmer under pressure.

I think it is important Arsenal do not panic - January signing Leandro Trossard is still bedding in, Jorginho will add experience and they have top frontman Gabriel Jesus due to return from injury at the end of the month.

Boss Mikel Arteta has previously shown steely leadership and determination to bounce back from setbacks during his tenure and I expect this will be no different.

Brentford, who visit the Emirates on Saturday, should beware a strong backlash which will boost the Gunners ahead of next Wednesday's crunch league visit by champions Manchester City.

Darren Lewis

The league is wide open right now. Arsenal have the points, Manchester City have experience of the course and the distance and Manchester United have the momentum.

Newcastle are the only team you can actually rule out because while they have defensive steel, they don’t score enough goals. But for the clubs open them it is anybody’s game.

(Getty Images)

All three have the firepower, the defensive platform and multiple points of attack capable put a run together. Eight points between the front three is nothing when you consider some of the deficits wiped out by Premier League winners over the years.

And you just can’t rule United out of the equation. Not with Marcus Rashford scoring goals for fun, Bruno Fernandes finding his stride and not with the Carabao Cup providing the potential for Erik ten Hag to establish a winning culture.

I am though going to stick with City. They know the League and they have 25-goal Haaland. Just don’t rule out United.

Ben Husband

When Arsenal were found out by Everton, it felt like this weekend could be a pivotal one in the title race. And so it proved.

Had City beaten Tottenham, the gap would have been down to two points and with two title showdowns still to come, the pressure would have been truly applied.

Pep Guardiola failed to close the gap up to Arsenal this weekend (Shaun Brooks/Action Plus/REX/Shutterstock)

As it transpired, City put in a limp display in north London to keep Arsenal firmly in the driving seat. It's a position I now don't see them relinquishing with the defeat at Goodison Park a welcome wake-up call ahead of the second half of the season.

The reigning champions still look like they are figuring out things and time is running out for Guardiola to find a solution. If Arsenal can avoid defeat against City in two weeks - in the middle of a winnable run of fixtures - they could pull out of sight.

Tom Victor

It might sound counter-intuitive to say the last round of games has convinced me City will claim the title, but that’s the way it is. Pep Guardiola’s side have lost games in this manner already this season, but for Arsenal, Saturday’s type of defeat was a new one.

In other Arsenal near-misses over the years, there have been flashpoint games around this time of year where they have dropped points in games they really ought to have been better in. Birmingham in 2008 is the obvious example, but the loss to a chaotic and depleted Manchester United in 2016 also applies, and Everton on Saturday feels like it could be another for the list.

While it’s true City aren’t the side they have been, the same applied early in the 2020-21 season before they went on one of those terrifying runs they always seem capable of. If Arsenal are to win the title, it feels like they’ll need at least three points from the two games against their closest challengers, and I’m not sold on that.

Last season the gap at the top was a single point, with City leaving it as late as possible to make certain of the title. A repeat this year with different challengers wouldn’t be a surprise.

Tom Blow

Whenever an underdog, such as Arsenal, are gunning for the title (no pun intended), there are always games where they are expected to slip up.

Think of when Leicester won the title seven years ago and everyone thought they would eventually lose. Yet they just carried on winning.

Mikel Arteta thought he'd given away important ground to Man City (Getty Images)

Arsenal remind me of Leicester that memorable season. Some pundits were worried they would lose to Tottenham or Manchester United in January. Yet they didn't.

The Gunners have now finally lost, but Manchester City are not consistent enough to pressurise them. Unlike Arsenal, they are losing the big games to the likes of Tottenham and Man Utd.

As long as the Everton game was a just a blip, Arsenal should be fine. Man City do not look like a team that can win 10 consecutive games.

Jacob Leeks

The title is still Arsenal's to lose and their current five-point advantage puts them in full control.

Mikel Arteta's men will bounce back from Saturday's shock defeat at Everton, though much will come down to the mouthwatering clash with Manchester City a week on Wednesday. In truth, the injury to Gabriel Jesus appeared to have been the biggest blow to their title hopes, but Eddie Nketiah has filled in admirably.

The defeat to Everton was a setback, but the Gunners have the firepower and the defensive solidity to continue their title push. The advantage they have built up should be too much for City to overcome, especially with Pep Guardiola's men struggling to find any consistency.

Though Arteta is not experienced in title challenges, he does know how to overcome setbacks, especially after last season's failed attempt to finish in the top four. And that experience will stand him in good stead as he looks to recover from the defeat to Everton.

Daniel Orme

Martin Odegaard has been important to Arsenal's rise (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

It goes without saying that Man City hugely left Arsenal off the hook after losing to their North London rivals Tottenham. It is those sort of results that could see the Gunners end their two-decade wait for another Premier League crown.

The signing of habitual trophy winner Jorginho will also hugely assist the North London side. Whilst he may not play a huge role for Arsenal for the remainder of the season, the Italian has the knowhow of getting over the line and lifting major silverware. That in itself will be a huge help within the dressing room at the Emirates Stadium.

On the topic of transfer business, Man City have only gotten weaker during the January window having let arguably one of the best defenders in world football in Joao Cancelo leave the club for Bayern Munich. The Portuguese has immediately displayed what his parent club will be missing following a bright start in Bavaria.

Despite starting the season as his protege, Arteta could well be set to become the teacher to Guardiola at the end of the campaign.

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