The five fixtures that could make or break Arsenal’s title challenge

Predictably with Arsenal, the proverbial ‘business end’ of the season bares witness to a faltering title challenge on their behalf.

Their disappointing loss to Barcelona in the Champions League was followed up with reversals at the hands of Manchester United and Swansea, leaving the Gunners six points off the top.

While the doubts about their mental strength seem to never cease, perhaps the unpredictably that has marked the season throughout can serve as a figure of hope.

Though Leicester City and arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur sit above them in the league, both have proved they are prone to relative slip ups and there is so much more to be played for.

With the likes of Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla due to return before the end of the season, it seems as if writing Arsene Wenger’s men off right away may be a tad hasty.

Especially considering the nature of the season so far.

With 11 games to go, here are the FIVE fixtures that will make or break Arsenal’s title challenge…

VS SPURS (AWAY) 5TH MARCH

Giroud

Has a North London derby ever had such high stakes? While usually any match between the two rivals is considered a showpiece, a loss tomorrow could all but end the title challenge. For either team.

Should Wenger manage to pick his side up after such a slump and manage to beat this hugely energetic Spurs side, it could spark the momentum required to catch the table topping Foxes.

Lose, however, and the mental block that is too often prevalent in Wenger’s side will only become a heavier burden to bare.

VS EVERTON (AWAY) 19TH MARCH

Everton Arsenal

Between tomorrow’s North London derby and a trip to Merseyside, the Gunners travel to Barcelona and Hull in the Champions League and FA Cup respectively.

While many expect them to lose in Spain, the trip to Humberside will provide a tricky obstacle to navigate no doubt. Should they suffer a cup upset, a feasible outcome, the losing streak could mar their mentality when looking to put their title surge back on track.

Goodison Park is also a tough place to go and the Toffees provide the sort of pacy, powerful attack that can cause the Gunners’ backline real problems.

VS WEST HAM (AWAY) 9TH APRIL

West Ham

Another difficult away day in the shape of a trip across to Upton Park. As the Hammers proved against Spurs on Wednesday night, they can pose real problems and could have a big say as to where the title ends up this season.

With Champions League ambitions of their own, Slaven Bilic’s side will provide a stern test on the Gunners’ last trip to the Boleyn. Dimitri Payet is poetry in motion, while the ever going threat of Michail Antonio is bound to cause Wenger’s defence problems.

VS MAN CITY (AWAY) 7TH MAY

Etihad

When Arsenal beat Manchester City at the Etihad last season, we saw the emergence of Francis Coquelin in the anchor man role. It was a 2-0 win that heralded a new found solidity within their ranks, a certain efficiency to partner their flamboyance.

Well, while there’s a certain directness not seen before, performances like the one we saw in January 2015 have not come around often enough.

However, that was the past. When Wenger takes his men to Manchester, the result could have huge implications on the top order.

Though the expensively assembled City squad are trailing behind them in the league and largely underperforming, they have more than enough talent to claw their way back into the title race.

The penultimate game of the season could prove to be the decider on as to how Wenger is perceived going forward. Lose, and his team could have capitulated at the last. Again.

VS ASTON VILLA (HOME) 15TH MAY

Arsenal v Hull City - FA Cup Final screening at Emirates Stadium

Should the title race go right down to the wire, as it could well do, the final game of the season against Aston Villa could be defining moment for the Gunners.

If they are still within touching distance, they have a great chance of finishing the season in style. Villa, quite frankly, are awful. Hosting them with the title potentially in the balance, would make the home side strong favourites.

Can they do it with the pressure on, in front of their own fans? Only time will tell.