Arsenal would have won the title if they were less negative at the Etihad – True or false?

After Manchester City won the league with a victory over West Ham, Rodri had the opportunity to talk to the media as the Citizens celebrated their league title victory. In his claims, he couldn’t help but criticize Arsenal. He accused Arsenal of only playing for a draw when they met at the Etihad Stadium in March.

He questioned Arsenal’s mindset, implying that they were unwilling to go all out in crucial games.

Some Premier League fans may agree with Rodri’s assertions, but those claims could be misleading. Arsenal’s fire and commitment were undeniable last season; plainly, they always aspire to win every game they play, and they certainly stepped up and gave their best in crucial games.

Stats back up this allegation, with Arsenal taking four points out of six in the Premier League duel with Manchester City. And that’s not all against the renowned “PL big six”; as shown below, our Gunners secured 22 out of 30 points.

If you want to talk about a side that can be counted on in crucial moments, Arsenal is it. City struggled against the big six, picking up only 15 out of 30 points. Manchester City fortunately won the championship with 91 points, two points ahead of Arsenal. However, if Arsenal had defeated them at the Etihad, the Gunners would have had the points advantage.

Ultimately, Arsenal were tougher when they needed to be; it was only tiny mistakes that cost them the league, but they were in a good physical and mental state in the 2023–24 title fight, even if they were unable to cross the finish line. But hopefully next season, they might finally beat Man City home and away and get across the line.

Daniel O


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Tags Arsenal title challenge Etihad Rodri


  1. Mathematically, Rodri is correct. If we had won, we would have had 91 points vs City at 90 points. But logically, a draw was a great result considering the opponent. Zero regrets there. The losses at Fulham, WestHam and Villa are the ones responsible for our failure to win the title

    1. But it did not follow that had Arsenal gone an all out attack they would have won the game. They could easily have lost the game handing City title defense advantage on a silver plate.

      A loss would have created a votex of negativity that would have thrown Arsenal season in disarray with nothing to build on next season.

    1. Maybe Would have won if we went toe to toe with city rather than looking like a bottom
      Half team in the prem and holding out for a draw ,one team came to play the other to nullify said team ,that IMO showed city we were afraid of them .
      Rodri’s statement is bang on .

  2. False.
    Rodri was so embittered with the fact that Arsenal neutralized them completely.
    Arsenal’s game plan was smarter than what Man city envisaged.

  3. There’s so much open jealousy against Arsenal.
    How many clubs compete in the English Premiership?
    All those clubs are all competing to win.
    Last season Arsenal lost by 5 points to referees and VAR. ( check it )
    This season they lost to the English Premier League (EPL ) who took points off some clubs except MAN CITY for the many of the same offenses.

  4. His comments will definitely spur us on to take all next season. He he qas smart he’d know they’l get not even 1 point against us come next yr.

    1. We don’t know that though.
      Who’s to say we dont win and they next game struggle with pressure of being clear at top of table ?

  5. As per usual, whst Rodri actually said, is not what this article is implying. Twisting fact to suit. And it wasn’t the City results that lost us the league, that is 100% obvious.

    1. Rodri’s quote ““But I think the difference was in [the head]. When they came here, when they faced us at the Etihad, I saw, these guys do not want to beat us. They just want to draw.

      “And that mentality, we would not do the same way. And we caught it.

      “In the end, if you give us one point, we will win the last seven, eight games even though it is tough. It is in terms of mentality.”

      1. He never said, that was the reason we didn’t win the league. He said City wouldn’t do what Arsenal did at the Etihad.

  6. Completely agree with Rodrigo, to win the league one has to beat your major rivals. Just imagine taking 6points of those juggernaut. Mikel failed to smell blood when they were there for the taking.

    1. Austin 3:16, it’s not necessary so that you have to beat your major rivals, though it does help. In the Invincible season we only managed to draw twice with Man Utd, who were really our only major rival.

    2. Many teams win the league without beating their rivals. Its happened many times. And from our point of view, we beat Leicester twice and they still won the league from us.

  7. We love beating ourselves up, forget the fact we are the only team to chase down that Frankenstein club.
    Small margins, dust ourselves down and go again. We have no right to win all games, but give a good account of ourselves.

  8. It was a calculated Risk made by Arteta, one would assume. He played to keep close to City, hoping they would drop points; unfortunately City don’t tend to drop points at the end of the season when they lead for the title.

    At some point we will have to challenge City in open play, trade punches and see who can win on that day.

    Arteta has a penchant for being risk-averse; maybe he doesn’t quite trust the players? Sometimes a general has to trust his soldiers to win the battle, everything can’t be scripted and micro-managed. You have to trust in your troops

    1. Great last paragraph Durand .
      When you see Arteta trying to tell players how to take throw ins ,it becomes scripted and over the top ,let the players play .

      1. Dan Kit
        I often wonder how much is scripted and how much is Arteta trusting his players and using their strengths.

        A bit surprised honestly, because Wenger allowed players some freedom to express themselves, and sometimes it was that “bit of magic” that turned the tide.

        Arteta doesn’t manage that way, it’s fine it is his way and his job. But I would argue that you have to trust your players sometimes, and give them the reins.

  9. false

    the opposite, it was crucial to the mentality of the squad to challenge to the end

    unlike last season

    last season Arsenal got murdered by Man C three times on an aggregate of something like 10 – 2 (didn’t check, but no contest was even close)

    last season we also capitulated a 2-0 lead at Anfield to start the slide

    this season it was critical to turn the table mentally for our squad as anything else

    for me that was a clear objective of Arteta right from the first game, the Charity Shield where Arteta put out a different formation and strategy to the previous season designed to stop Man C dominance – and it worked

    Charity Shield (N) = 1-1 in the 90
    Man C (H) = 1 – 0 win
    Liverpool (A) = 1-1 draw
    Liverpool (H) = 3-1 win
    Man C (A) = 0-0 draw

    broadly same formation and tactics in those games (different to bottom half games) and Arsenal came out on top taking 4 points to 1 off both in the PL

    3 point positive against your PL title rivals is absolutely superb

    compare to last season 4 points negative last season

    we had our chances to nick it against Man C away, but did not quite manage to take it, I’m thinking Trossard in 89th minute

    mentally really important to the squad to prove to ourselves we are as good as anyone and deserve to be where we are – that belief took us to a new level in the PL run-in this season (2023/24) vs last season (2022/23)

    1. Absolutely correct

      And everyone is saying we lost the title.

      NO. ..Man City went 23 games unbeaten to retin their title ! People should recognise that amazing feat….no other team in PL took points at the crucial stage of season. We got 4.points against them

      What drivel saying we were not mentally tough enough. So we’re ciry not mentally tough enough when they lost to us at our place ! ?

  10. But if we had lost? What would that have done to us psychologically that late in the season?
    That’s away at the Etihad we are talking about..

  11. We lost 5 games they lost 3. No other reason. The league is 38 games. Points do not start count in January or April. A loss in August is as damaging as a loss in April or May.

    The ridiculous experimenting at the beginning of last season should never be repeated ever if we are to win anything!

    Benching Gabriel to play Partey on the RB in order to accommodate Havertz? By the time he figured where to play Havertz the damage was already done.

    And the way he was celebrated on here its funny that he was not even close to be nominated for the player of the season while Cap Ode and Rice did! He wasn’t even in the top 10 of top scorers or top 20 of assists!

    We should stop celebrating okay performances when we dont win anything as well as we should stop celebrating half a season achievements. Ooh we are unbeaten in 2024! Where are the 2024 medals? The season is called 2023/2024!

    These half or mid season stats are meaningless to the fans. Their major purpose is giving journalists something to write about that’s all!

  12. Like the hard arse attitude. We just weren’t brave enough at the Etihad, so we wasted too much energy in nullifying Foden and Harland but it wasn’t enough. It might have worked if City had continued their Champions League run, thus stretching their recourses. That didn’t happen and the rest is history. Still credit to Arteta and his players for sticking around after the Villa disaster.

  13. It was lost over the course of the whole season.

    Not losing at the Etihad was commendable whereas losing at home to Villa was awful and made worse because it happened at the hands of Emery

  14. You can’t categorically say that if we had been more positive at the Etihad we would have won the title. If we had won at the Etihad we might have lost the next 6 games, or drawn them or won them, you just don’t know.

  15. An EPL title winning camapign
    without question should be
    judged in it’s totality, not a
    single fixture against the
    eventual champion. As
    mentioned above City lost
    fewer games during the course
    of the season than Arsenal
    and were near perfect from
    December to the final whistle.

    If Arsenal are to be EPL Champs
    this season they simply cannot
    continue to drop points,
    especially @ home
    to the likes of Villa, West Ham &
    Fulham. Arsenal showed there
    inexperience and naivety in
    critical moments of these
    fixtures and sadly they paid
    the ultimate price come seasons

  16. Alright arsenal has fought just as the other season and I love that I really wanted to carry the trophy because it was just too much of city. Of course we do understand player pricing and quality but still I strongly feel arsenal had too much respect for city, arsenal lack the velocity we would love to see.

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