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There are plenty of Arsenal fans who may have thought the Premier League bubble would have burst by now.
Their incredible start to the season led to early talk of a serious title charge but it was met with immediate pessimism by both fans of Arsenal and other teams. We’re in mid March now, though, and they are still at the top of the table with a five-point lead.
There is no getting away from the fact they are the favourites to win the title with 11 Premier League games left to play. The next six matches Mikel Arteta’s side play are going to be pivotal to their season. It could all be ripped away very quickly, especially with a team like Manchester City on the chase.
With the Carabao Cup over, Arsenal’s FA Cup campaign never taking off and a Europa League exit now confirmed, 11 Premier League fixtures is all they have left to play for.
Here’s who they have got coming up in the next six of those Premier League games.
This is one of the games where Arsenal surely envisage no issues at all. Crystal Palace are struggling to put any sort of form together and there are now fears for Patrick Vieira’s job. They’re now down in 12th and look set to fall further down rather than up.
Their last victory came on December 31 away at Bournemouth and Arsenal, in front of their own fans at the Emirates, should have far too much against a Palace side totally devoid of all confidence.
Much like the Crystal Palace fixture, this is one Arsenal will welcome. They are at home once again against a Leeds side right in the thick of the relegation battle. They are prime candidates to go down and will not be confident of getting anything at the Emirates.
Playing relegation-threatened teams at this stage of the season can bring about a fresh set of challenges, but anything other than six points from these two games would be really concerning for Arsenal and it would open the door for Manchester City.
The trip to Liverpool is one potential banana skin for Arsenal and a game Manchester City will have identified as one the Gunners may drop points in. While Liverpool have endured a pretty torrid season, there have been clear signs of revival in the Premier League.
The Reds still have a chance to get into the top four and only have Premier League games to think about for the rest of the season. If Arsenal win at Anfield, they will feel they really are on their way to glory.
This is another game Arsenal would likely have chosen if given the opportunity. West Ham have suffered a miserable season under David Moyes and are in serious danger of going down, despite the quality of some players in the squad.
While it is away from home, this is a game in the same category as Leeds and Palace where if there were any sort of slip-up, it would set some serious alarm bells ringing for fans as they get closer to the end of the season.
Arsenal’s next six Premier League games include three teams in the current bottom four. There really is no excuse for them to not still be in a position of strength once they get into the final weeks of the season. Southampton arguably look the most likely of anyone to go down this time.
Even though there have been signs of some improvement under Ruben Selles, it’s not clear if it’s going to be enough to keep them up. Arsenal simply must win this one at home, especially considering the game that will come after it.
The big one. This is the game where the Premier League title is expected to be won or lost and Arsenal simply must come into it having got maximum points against the lowers sides.
Manchester City will likely come into this one having had a pretty successful five Premier League fixtures beforehand and the gap is expected to be similar to what it is now. Being at the Etihad Stadium, Arsenal may be in a position where a draw will do them nicely, but they certainly don’t want to arrive in second place.