Arsenal dealt title race blow as Premier League confirm fixture scheduling decision

By Staff

Arsenal have been dealt a potential blow in the title race after Wolves’ exit from the FA Cup.

The Gunners are not in action this weekend as the team they were supposed to play, Chelsea, are facing Leicester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals. This meant that Mikel Arteta was forced to watch on as Wolves faced off against Coventry in a pulsating fixture on Saturday afternoon.

Gary O’Neil’s side fell behind in controversial fashion to an Ellis Simms goal, before seemingly completing a late comeback when Hugo Bueno added to Rayan Ait Nouri’s equaliser to make it 2-1 in the 88th minute. Then, with their spot at Wembley seemingly booked Coventry struck back again with two goals in stoppage time to complete a remarkable turnaround that could have a big impact on Arsenal.

The Gunners have been dealt a brutal fixture list for the run-in this season. Having drawn Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter finals and then one of Real Madrid or Manchester City potentially in the semis, they’re going to have do it the hard way if they want to be top dogs in Europe. Equally their Premier League run in looks daunting with trips to Old Trafford, the Amex and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium all to come as Arsenal seek to fend off City and Liverpool to claim a first title in 20 years.

Another potentially tricky away trip comes when they travel to Mollineux to play Wolves. Gary O’Neil’s side have already beaten Manchester City and Chelsea at home this season and ran both Manchester United and Liverpool very close. Arsenal are due to travel to the Black Country on April 20, but had Wolves made it to the FA Cup semi final that fixture would have had to be postponed to a different date.

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That would have given Arsenal a precious weekend off in the midst of a hectic run in where they play more or less every three days between the end of March and May. Instead the Gunners will now play their Champions League quarter-final second leg at the Allianz Arena in Munich before having to travel to Mollineux to take on Wolves just three days later.

Equally they lose the chance for a potential game in hand over their rivals. Last season Arsenal struggled being the frontrunners and seemed to have relished being part of the chasing pack this time around. It’s likely that the trip to Wolves would have been rescheduled to May 15, which would have made it the penultimate game of the season. Who knows what effect such a late chance to gain ground on their title rivals could have had.

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