Even before the Premier League matches due to be played today and tomorrow, there was very little margin of error for Arsenal and our fight for another top four finish. Any small margin we did have as Arsene Wenger and the players prepare for the away game at Crystal Palace on Monday night has now evaporated, though, as both Man City and Liverpool won their matches to stretch the gap between them and us.
I always expected City to take the points at home, even though their relegation threatened opponents Hull City were showing some real spirit and form in their fight to avoid the drop. That is just how it proved as Guardiola’s men eased into a three goal lead after about an hour, with the Tigers only managing a late consolation.
The Liverpool game was a much different sort of event, however, as Klopp’s team continued to struggle as they have recently. The home team Stoke deservedly led at the break and Arsenal fans everyhere would have been hoping for more of the same in the second half, but unfortunately for us they rallied and played much better, completing the turnaround with two goals in as many minutes from Coutinho and Firmino.
That is bad news for the Gunners and not just because it makes the gap to them nine points, but because it will have give them a big confidence boost and answered the question of whether they could win without Sadio Mane. There will already be great pressure on Arsenal to win at Palace and Man United could ramp it up another notch if they win at Sunderland tomorrow.