Five glaring instances of why Arsenal's 5-point advantage over Man City may not be sufficient

probably won’t believe Arsenal can lift the Premiership till it’s mathematically impossible to be caught, just because I have been burnt too many times.

My head tells me that mental strength is so crucial in any sport. Talent gets you so far, but to get over the line you need strong mentality.

Take the emotion out of things and Man City are still favourites in the run in, simply because they have players who have the knowhow to handle the pressure that arrives in March and April.

The Champions have shown for years they can cope with having to play every few days in must-win situations and put winning sequences together.

We know Man City can handle ‘squeaky bum time’, we don’t know that about the Gunners yet.

Not criticism, simply acknowledgement that we have the youngest squad in the division, and dealing with the expectation and dreams of Gooners round the world might be too heavy.

It’s why bizarrely I think it’s more likely we would lift the Prem by a big margin then a short one.

Maybe Man City don’t do enough to threaten our 5 point lead at the top table (with a game in hand)?

Yet if that margin is smaller with 10 games to go, Pep Guardiola will be acutely aware that he has a dressing room of winners, who are street-wise and know how to handle the occasion.

It’s our quickest ever route to 50 points and some of my peers point out that at that rate we will get 100 points. Yet football doesn’t work like that.

How will our team react if we suffered a shock defeat?

Would doubt creep in If Man City beat us in the League (which they have done for years)?

Can we go to places like Anfield in must-win conditions?

There’s still a lot of football to be played and history shows us that a 5 point lead in January is not impossible to catch …..

1995-1996 Season

Newcastle had a 12 point lead over Man United at the end of January, with the Geordie’s attacking style of football praised throughout the country.

From February it became clear though that the Toon Army were crippled by the fear of failure, almost like they wanted the title too much.

Every week Kevin Keegan tried to play down Man United chipping away at their lead. ‘It’s still 9 points’….’we would have taken a 7-point lead’. etc.

When United won at Saint James Park, reducing the gap to just 1 point, Sir Alex Ferguson begun the mind games, realising his opponents didn’t know how to turn the tide.

Many felt with such a lead Keegan didn’t need to be as offensive as in his ethos and if he had switched to a more conservative type of game they wouldn’t have dropped silly points.

In reality Keegan didn’t know how to cure their anxiety.


A dismal Xmas saw the Gunners go into the new year 12 points behind Man United with some bookmakers famously paying out already.

It was common knowledge that Arsenal had a couple of games in hand but the defending Champions had points on the board.

When they slipped up at Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham though, a clear path towards the title became clear for Arsenal.

Sir Alex Ferguson knew though we had to still win our games in hand and get a victory at Old Trafford, something we hadn’t done in the Prem era.

The mind games that worked against Kevin Keegan didn’t affect Arsene Wenger. A famous 1-0 win in Manchester put our destiny in our own hands, winning our next 8 games to be champions.


In March, bookmakers started paying out on Arsenal retaining their title after they went 8 points clear (Man Utd had a game in hand).

Following on from winning the Double in the previous campaign, the Gunners set several records and our style of football was praised around the world.

It led to Arsene Wenger famously predicting we could go a whole league campaign without losing a game. He was correct, just a year early with his prediction.

Arsenal didn’t cope well with being the hunted, dropping points at Blackburn and Villa.

A 2-2 draw with United kept our destiny in our own hands, before we threw away a 2-0 lead at Bolton and with it essentially the title.


It is what some Gooners should take notice of, a young Arsenal team were heading 8 points clear at the top of the table in February, and leading Birmingham 2-1.

A Clichy mistake led to us conceding a late penalty.

Instead of our captain putting an arm round the youngsters shoulders, Gallas (one of the few senior players we had) staged a one man sit down protest at the final whistle

It’s believed a youthful squad were impacted by Eduardo breaking his leg that day.

We drew our next 4 fixtures, which allowed Chelsea and Man United to make ground on us.

Defeats at both knocked us out of contention.

In hindsight if Mr Wenger had brought in some experience in January it would have helped.

Thankfully Arteta has been doing that this month.


Some think a 5 point lead with a game in hand is a gap Man City can’t close ……they closed an 8 point gap with only six games left to win their first ever Premiership.

Ironically our future manager scored the Everton goal which at the time seemed to give the initiative to the red half of Manchester .

A loss at Wigan and conceding a late equaliser at home to Everton meant going into the Manchester Derby it was in both teams hands.

City won the Derby, meaning due to goal difference they had the advantage on the final day, setting up the classic Aguero moment.


Still a lot of football to be played, peeps.

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