Sport

Ian Wright reacts to Martin Odegaard’s goal vs Luton Town

One of the most breathtaking title races in Premier League history will go down to the wire, with Arsenal at the thick of it.

After a dreadful 4-1 defeat at Manchester City down the final stretch of last season condemned them to a runner-up finish, the Gunners seem to have learned their lesson.

Despite lamenting just 27% possession at the Etihad Stadium, Mikel Arteta’s side held the perennial champions to a gutsy 0-0 draw in Easter Sunday’s showdown.

It was the first time since 2016 that Arsenal left Manchester unbeaten in Premier League action, even though it halted their flawless record of eight league wins in 2024.

With Liverpool taking advantage of the Gunners’ stalemate to move two points clear at the table’s summit going into the last nine rounds, Arteta’s men have no margin for error.

However, eight competitive fixtures await Arsenal in April, including a mouth-watering Champions League quarter-final tie against Harry Kane’s Bayern Munich.

Given the recent injury crisis at the Emirates Stadium, Arteta must set his priorities straight ahead of the tight schedule to avoid ending up empty-handed come May.

Irrespective of the fame and prizes accompanying Champions League glory, snapping a two-decade title drought in the Premier League would be the club’s dream achievement.

Premier League supremacy over continental aspirations

Had Arsenal played the Bavarians in the Champions League knockout stages in recent years, they would’ve probably perceived their chances as thin or unrealistic.

But the script has flipped. The Gunners are now well-equipped to deal with the record-time Bundesliga champions and will approach this tie with legitimate hopes of advancing into the semi-finals.

Making it out of the quarter-finals would put an additional squeeze on the fixture schedule and could lead to fatigue problems that have tormented several key first-team players in recent weeks.

While taking such a big scalp would help re-establish the club among the European elite, it could prove counterproductive to their ongoing quest to dethrone Man City.

Calm before the storm

Arsenal kick off April’s Premier League programme with a relatively straightforward home clash against relegation-threatened Luton Town on Wednesday night.

Rob Edwards’ charges have claimed just three points from their last nine league matches, meaning the Gunners should have a walk in the park against a side they’ve defeated in ten of their 11 previous home games.

Next in line is a daunting-looking trip to the Amex Stadium to take on Brighton & Hove Albion.

This clash looks like a potential banana skin on paper, but battles on multiple fronts have taken their toll on the Seagulls, who are merely a shadow of one of the most exciting Premier League teams last term.

Arsenal can’t settle for less than six points in these two match-ups, knowing their remaining league outings in April will put their title credentials to a stern test.

Critical sequence

Five days after their first-leg home encounter against Bayern, Arsenal will host fourth-placed Aston Villa in North London, seeking revenge for a 1-0 loss in December’s reverse fixture.

A quick turnaround will be in demand as, over the next six days, they’ll travel to Germany for the return leg against Thomas Tuchel’s side before touching down at Molineux for a tricky contest against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Upholding a fantastic record of five consecutive league wins against the West Midlands outfit will be imperative to strengthen their spirits ahead of back-to-back London derbies.

Regardless of their miserable campaign, bottom-half Chelsea have the quality to spoil Arsenal’s lofty ambitions and will be out to prove that at the Emirates.

The Blues’ cross-city trip will be a dress rehearsal for the North London derby at the end of the month, with the Gunners taking a short trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to sign off for April.

Spurs have recently blown hot and cold, but as they bid to return to the Champions League and with most of their star players back from injuries, Ange Postecologu’s troops are formidable opposition.

Scratch the Champions Leauge and put all the chips in the middle

Seeing Arsenal at the podium for the first time since 2004 would make the Emirates faithful forget any potential Champions League upset in a heartbeat.

While the most coveted double in European football looks irresistible, Arteta should be pragmatic and consider throwing his continental run under the bus to boost his Premier League title pursuit.