Can Mikel Arteta lead Arsenal to the title?

The 5 games Arsenal must win to lift the 2023-24 Premier League title

Arsenal may be considered outsiders in the Premier League title race against Liverpool and Manchester City – but winning these five matches may take Mikel Arteta’s squad to glory.

After finishing second last season, running out of steam in the final months of the campaign, Arteta signed the likes of Declan Rice and Kai Havertz to bolster his side.

And Arsenal have looked less fragile in 2023-24, recovering superbly from a Christmas stumble to become the league’s form side in the early months of 2024.

We’ve identified five matches that may define whether Arsenal win their first Premier League title since 2003-04.

31st March – Manchester City (A)

The mother and father of all acid tests.

Memories linger of Arsenal’s 4-1 capitulation at the Etihad Stadium in April 2023, effectively handing the title to Manchester City. Although the Gunners beat City in October, plenty will expect a repeat performance on Easter Sunday.

Has Arteta made his side more resilient against the best? Can Bukayo Saka prove Rio Ferdinand wrong and put in a world-class performance against elite opponents? Will William Saliba prevent Erling Haaland from scoring?

If the answer to the above questions is yes, then Arsenal may well take over as favourites to win the Premier League.

13th April – Aston Villa (H)

Villa beat Arsenal in the reverse fixture back in December and Unai Emery will relish the opportunity to put another spanner in Arsenal’s work when he comes to the Emirates in mid-April.

Even without personal motivation, Villa are in pole position to qualify for next season’s Champions League and will be dangerous opponents for Arsenal.

Jack Wilshere playing for Arsenal in the Champions League in 2008.

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20th April – Wolves (A)

Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham have all been beaten at Molineux this season as Gary O’Neil continues to impress with his ability to bloody the nose of the Premier League elite.

Wolves are safe from relegation and may even still be in a position to push for European qualification through the league or FA Cup.

Arsenal have gained a reputation for bottling such away games, one which Arteta has done so much to shed during his four-year managerial reign at the club.

With Liverpool and City relentless in these situations, three points against tricky opposition may be a necessity for Arsenal by mid-April.

27th April – Tottenham (A)

The north London derby needs no additional hype – this is one blue-ribbon Premier League fixture that can be relied upon for goals, incident and lashings of sumptuous skill.

Spurs will want three points to bolster their chances of playing Champions League football next season, but de-railing Arsenal’s title bid would instantly enter club folklore.

Arsenal won 2-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last season, but were thrashed 3-0 in a de-facto Champions League play-off in May 2022. The stakes will be even higher this year.

Can Arsenal win their first league title in 20 years?

Can Arsenal win their first league title in 20 years?

11th May – Manchester United (A)

Old Trafford is rarely a happy hunting ground for Arsenal – one league win at the venue since September 2006 – but they are likely to need three points to stay in the title race come their visit in May 2024.

United are having an undistinguished season and are likely to be playing for the dubious prize of Europa League football by the time Arteta and friends come to town.

And this is a match which shows the diverging direction of the two clubs over the past few years – Arsenal have fully overtaken United to become credible Premier League contenders.

That said, United are capable of being caustic opponents on occasion. It doesn’t take the imagination of Terry Pratchett to see Arsenal slipping up here.

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