Arsenal's big game winning ability gives them edge in title race

  • Arsenal top the Premier League table after Liverpool's draw with Man City
  • City have faltered vs 'Big Six'
  • Gunners unbeaten against title rivals
Can Mikel Arteta inspire Arsenal to the Premier League title this season?
Can Mikel Arteta inspire Arsenal to the Premier League title this season? / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

It'd have been over three weeks since we last saw Arsenal in action when they kick-off at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon.

An early FA Cup exit and the March international break means the Gunners have enjoyed their second mini-break of 2024.

Kai Havertz's late goal ensured Mikel Arteta's side secured a crucial three points against Brentford last time out, allowing supporters to enjoy Manchester City's trip to Liverpool the following day. That draw at Anfield meant Arsenal went into the break at the top of the Premier League table.

The duel on Merseyside was wonderfully memorable, and it was likely the last between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp on British soil. The end of an era. With Klopp departing at the end of the season, there's a chance for a new competitor to emerge and fresh rivalry to manifest. Arsenal are best placed to fill the void, and they may well secure their first title in 20 years before Klopp bids farewell to the Kop.

Arsenal have an excellent record in big games this season

Joe Gomez
Arsenal reinvigorated their title bid by beating Liverpool in February / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

You feel that Sunday's game in Manchester will go a long way in determining this season's champion. Some estimates are handing Arsenal over a 50% chance of winning the league should they secure their first win at the Etihad since 2015. It's a mammoth duel, and an air of caginess will prevail - just as it did in the reverse fixture. However, the Gunners' record against the Premier League's best stands them in good stead and when the 2023/24 campaign is in the books, we may look back on Arsenal's ability to beat the best as the primary factor in their title success.

No team has picked up more points against the so-called 'Big Six' this season than Arsenal (12), with Man City drawing five of their eight games against the same opposition. Arsenal are also unbeaten against their title rivals having drawn at Anfield and beating both City and Liverpool at the Emirates. While it's not always the case, last season we saw just how important the head-to-head duels between the league's top two were in determining the title victor.

Liverpool have been imperious on home soil yet again this term, but they've dropped points against both Manchester clubs.

Arteta has worked incessantly to gain an edge over two utterly superb teams, reaping the rewards amid an eight-game winning run and when Arsenal take on teams of comparable quality. Arsenal have excelled in the details, whether that be the duel-winning capacity of summer arrival Kai Havertz or their dominance from set-pieces. Both have a big role to play this weekend.

Such improvements bolster Arsenal's chances of dealing with a hectic run-in. The Gunners faltered woefully in crunch time last season, and they can ill afford to endure even a minor slip-up on this occasion given who they're competing against. We should expect both Liverpool and City to record close to maximum point hauls from their remaining fixtures. The emotional factors surrounding Liverpool render them an irresistible force, while City so often find their relentless apex when it matters most.

Sunday's trip to the Etihad is just the start of a demanding run-in for Arsenal, but its significance can't be ignored. The Gunners have shone on the big occasion this season, and they need to deliver one more time.