Soccer-Bruised Arsenal seek healing win at Wolves to re-ignite title charge


Soccer Football - Champions League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Bayern Munich v Arsenal - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - April 17, 2024 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta REUTERS/Angelika Warmuth

LONDON (Reuters) - A bruising few days has provided a stark reality check to the growing euphoria at Arsenal but all is not lost for the Gunners who will now focus solely on trying to win their first Premier League title for 20 years.

Arsenal were handed an open goal when Liverpool lost to Crystal Palace last weekend but a few hours later were left stunned by a 2-0 home defeat against Aston Villa, their first Premier League loss of 2024.

Those results handed Manchester City control of a three-way Premier League title race with six games remaining with Pep Guardiola's side leading Arsenal and Liverpool by two points.

Arsenal's Champions League quarter-final exit at Bayern Munich on Wednesday was another gut blow for Mikel Arteta's side who have suddenly lost their sparkle.

There is nothing like another game to re-focus minds, however, and Arsenal's trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday offers the perfect opportunity to get back on track and heap some pressure on Manchester City by moving back to the top of the standings.

"On Saturday we have a big, big, big game," Arteta, seeking to draw a line under three successive games without a win, said. "We're still playing for a Premier League and I really want it.

"We have to show now that we are capable of turning this around. I can guarantee you by tomorrow we are fully focused on Wolves and everybody's lifted.

"What we still have to play is beautiful."

Encouragingly for Arsenal they have won their last five league games against Wolves, who are on a five-match winless run in all competitions as they sit bang in the middle of the table.

"We've got Wolves away, and that's where our big reaction is going to happen," Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice said after the 1-0 defeat at Bayern Munich.

Arsenal were not alone in suffering Champions League heartbreak with Manchester City's hopes of a second-successive treble wrecked as they lost to Real Madrid on penalties after their quarter-final ended 4-4 on aggregate.

City are in FA Cup semi-final action against Chelsea on Saturday, meaning Liverpool also have the chance to climb above Pep Guardiola's side when they travel to Fulham on Sunday.

Liverpool's hopes of giving Juergen Klopp a remarkable send-off in his final season are hanging by a thread after dropping five points in their last two league games although they will certainly not be throwing in the towel in the title race.

A huge weekend is in store in the Premier League relegation battle with three games involving the six teams scrapping to avoid the drop with Everton's home game against Nottingham Forest on Sunday looking like the proverbial six-pointer.

Everton, in 16th place, are one point above Forest as the clubs who have had eight and four points respectively docked for financial breaches prepare to do battle at Goodison Park.

A 6-0 thrashing at Chelsea on Monday left Everton stuck in the mire and defeat at home by Forest could see them slip into the relegation zone.

Bottom club Sheffield United host 19th-placed Burnley on Saturday desperate for a victory to maintain any realistic hopes of avoiding the drop. Eighteenth-placed Luton Town have a huge incentive to beat 15th-placed Brentford as victory would take them out of the drop zone.

"They're all cup finals now," Luton manager Rob Edwards said of his side's last five games. "We will be giving everything to get maximum points in every game. Brentford is a huge game and it will be an amazing atmosphere at Kenilworth Road."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

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