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Arsene Wenger has pinpointed the exact moment in the season that Arsenal’s hopes of title success crumbled.
It came during the space of five days in December when the Gunners travelled to Everton and Manchester City for successive Premier League games.
When they took to the field at Goodison, Arsenal knew a win would see them move above Chelsea to the top of the table and they got off to a fine start when Alexis Sanchez gave them a first half lead.
But Seamus Coleman levelled just before the break for the hosts and Ashley Williams went on to snatch a late winner for Ronald Koeman’s side.
The fightback condemned Wenger’s side to a first league defeat since the opening weekend of the season and they followed it up with another just a few days later at the Etihad.
Again they took the lead, this time through Theo Walcott, but second half strikes from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling gave City all three points.
It sealed a bad week for Arsenal – one that Wenger still looks back on with regret.
When asked if that was the spell in the season where things started to fall apart, he replied:
“I would say yes because in the two games we were leading 1-0 and we got caught in the second half.
“Especially at Everton were really unlucky because some decisions were really bad.
“After that we have to go straight to City and it didn’t help.”
Five months later Arsenal head into the final weekend of the season sitting fifth in the Premier League and they look set to miss out on Champions League qualification for the first time in 20 years.
A poor 2017 has led to widespread apathy around the club – something that was demonstrated by the large number of empty seats during Tuesday night’s 2-0 win against Sunderland at the Emirates.
Wenger insists, however, it’s not all doom and gloom in N5.
“We won more games than last year, he said. “We have one point more already.
“We went through a difficult period away from home because if you look at our home record it’s quite good.
“Overall it’s away from home that we have lost our chance to win the Championship. Our home record is decent.”
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