Ian Wright and Paul Merson identify Arsenal's must-win games in huge Premier League title claim
Arsenal will be hoping to go one step further this season and win their first Premier League title since 2004 after finishing second last term
Arsenal are aiming to end their Premier League title drought this season after spending over £200million on new signings in the summer. The Gunners have added Declan Rice, Jurrien Timber, Kai Havertz and David Raya to Mikel Arteta's squad in the hope of beating their rivals to a first title since 2004.
However, the return of Champions League action at the Emirates Stadium this season could see Arsenal have to prioritise certain games as Arteta looks to use his increased squad depth to his advantage. The Gunners begin their Champions League campaign with a home clash against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night - before facing Tottenham in the North London Derby this weekend.
When asked about the crucial games Arsenal have coming up, the Gunners icon outlined home fixtures against Tottenham and Manchester City next month as must-win games if they have a chance of winning the Premier League title. Wright told Premier League Productions: "Those three games are big, but I wouldn't say the PSV one so much because it's a Champions League game; it's the first one we’re not really into the meat and bones of yet.
"It's a big game for Arsenal, but then obviously Tottenham and their form, which is very, very good, so the derby is going to be unbelievable. Then it's Manchester City, and I believe if Arsenal have serious intentions of winning the league, they’re going to have to beat them at least once.
"They're going to have to beat them and beat the teams around them, and then hope the other teams are able to cause Man City problems as well, because if they don’t beat them at least once, it’s going to be very, very difficult to do it. You have to get something from them and then build the momentum and confidence in the team, so when you get to them, I’m pleased they dug this one [win against Everton] out.”
Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson agreed with Wright's comments and believes the Gunners could be out of the title race if they lose against Spurs and City. Merson told Sky Sports: "The title race used to start in December and January - and it was about who had the best run after that.
"Now Man City have blown it out of the water. You can't fall behind. Arsenal haven't really got going and they've won four and drawn one. Everybody is like that, even Man City are not perfect.
"Fulham had chances against them, West Ham had them on the rack the other day. They were 1-0 up and Ederson was there making world-class saves.
"But if Arsenal lose their two big games, they won't win the league, it's as simple as that. If they lose to Tottenham and Man City, then they're out of the title race by the start of October.
"Last season, if Arsenal had won one of those games against Manchester City - and they had them on the ropes in that home game in February - then they would have won the league."
Injuries could play a key role throughout Arsenal's season with Thomas Partey, Jurrien Timber and Gabriel Martinelli all suffering issues so far. The Gunners have taken 13 points from a possible 15 in the Premier League and will need to continue their good start with a number of tricky fixtures on the horizon.
Arsenal have returned to the Champions League after a six year absence - and confidence is high Mikel Arteta’s men can make a genuine run to the final at Wembley.
Our special preview of the Gunners’ 2023/24 Champions League campaign provides the ultimate guide to the tournament.
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