5 Matches That Broke Arsenal's 2013/14 Season
Arsenal's season seems set to end on a high. The Gunners have secured fourth place with relative ease and still have an FA Cup Final at Wembley to come.
However, the feeling persists that it ought to have been so much more. Arsene Wenger's team led the Premier League for such a long time, but ultimately their challenge collapsed.
In this piece, we look at the five matches—both domestically and in the Champions League—that transformed Arsenal from front-runners to also-rans.
Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal: November 10, 2013
Arsenal's failure to beat an ailing Manchester United side was an early sign that this team still struggles against the bigger clubs.
Beating United would have helped Arsenal overcome their inferiority complex. Instead, defeat compounded their insecurities.
One of Arsenal's biggest regrets in 2013/14 is that they failed to beat the weakest United team in a generation.
Arsenal 1-1 Everton: December 8, 2013
Had Arsenal beaten Everton in December, they would have taken a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
It seemed on the cards, too. When Mesut Ozil scored a late goal to give the Gunners the lead, it felt like the sort of landmark game that defines a championship-winning season.
However, Gerard Deulofeu produced a dramatic late equaliser to deny Arsenal the victory. It was a huge opportunity missed.
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal: February 8, 2014
Arsenal's performances away from home against their title rivals proved decisive.
Against Liverpool, they suffered a humiliating defeat, simultaneously igniting the Anfield club's title hopes and damaging their own.
The game had repercussions beyond the 90 minutes, too. An Arsenal team seeking security and stability followed up with a tepid 0-0 against Manchester United. It could be argued the Liverpool game cost Arsenal as many as five points.
Arsenal 0-2 Bayern Munich: February 19, 2014
A draw against Bayern Munich always looked treacherous. However, the home leg saw Arsenal start brightly and then self-destruct. Mesut Ozil missed an early penalty, Wojciech Szczesny was sent off and Bayern grabbed two away goals to leave Arsenal a mountain to climb.
In the second leg, Arsenal secured a creditable 1-1. With a better first leg behind them, the ultimate outcome might have been rather different.
Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal: March 22, 2014
Arsenal's six-goal thrashing away to Chelsea was undeniably the low point of their entire season.
Entering the game, the Gunners were still credible title challengers.
Afterward, no-one took them seriously.
Defeats like this cost more than three points. They shred any semblance of confidence in the team and leave them lacking in belief.
Arsenal's record against the biggest sides must improve if they're to have any chance of launching a more sustained challenge next year.
Which games do you think hurt Arsenal's hopes most? Leave your comments below.