Arsenal conceded the Premier League on Saturday with a frankly pathetic 1-0 loss against Nottingham Forest. Manchester City became champions without having to play. For as much as it was inevitable that City would win the league this weekend, handing the Premier League title to City is deeply dispiriting, disappointing, and inexcusable. For the second successive weekend, Arsenal went a goal down and never really looked like scoring. Despite having 81% possession, Arsenal barely forced Keylor Navas into a save. And, for the second successive season, Arsenal have ended the season on a complete whimper. For all the insisting over previous weeks that Arsenal did not bottle the title, this was a striking lack of mental fortitude. Or, in easier terms, it was pathetic.
Mikel Arteta sprung a new look lineup: Thomas Partey played right back, Ben White played centre back, Jakub Kiwior played left back. It didn’t work. He didn’t make substitutes until the hour mark; they really didn’t do anything. Once again Kieran Tierney showed he’s not long for this club, and Fabio Vieira showed he’s not for this league. Somehow Thomas Partey and Gabriel Jesus got 90 minutes.
Arsenal were brilliant for 30 games this season. Arsenal wobbled in April. Arsenal have been, Newcastle aside, just pathetic in May. In time we can all focus on the positives of this season, but at this moment, right now, the last two games have been completely inexcusable. Never mind taking City to the final day: Arsenal couldn’t take City to the penultimate weekend. Never mind getting 90 points, then 87 points; Arsenal might get 82 points. Of course, the expectations before the season were lower, and of course we were going up against a cheating goliath, but the expectations for this season changed, and over the last two weeks, despite lowered expectations, this team still hasn’t managed to reach them.
There have undoubtedly been a lot of positives this season. But for a second successive season, Arsenal are ending on a whimper, and that leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. It’s one thing to lose; it’s another thing to essentially roll over. If this team is to beat the bottling allegations, they’re going to have to stop throwing the toys out of the pram when what they want to achieve is no longer possible. That’s for fans to do, not professional athletes.