Arsenal can do Man City one last favour in the Premier League title race to provide treble boost

Arsenal have been worthy competitors in Manchester City’s latest (expected) Premier League title win.

Others, like Manchester United and Liverpool, have run City close, but have also fallen short at the final hurdle when the Blues have put together an unstoppable winning run. The Gunners got 50 points in the first half of the season, and would have equalled City’s Centurions had they kept up that pace.

City are on 43 points, with three games remaining, for the second half of the campaign, showing their upturn in form when it mattered. Arsenal have simply run out of steam, and looked resigned to their fate after losing to Brighton last weekend.

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That result, coupled with City’s win at Everton, means that the Blues will win their third straight Premier League title with victory over Chelsea on Sunday. If Arsenal draw against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, City only need to match that result, and should Arsenal lose again then the title will be City’s without kicking another ball.

After Forest stole a point from a dominant City back in February (which is also the last time they didn’t win in the Premier League), all will be forgiven if Steve Cooper’s side can defeat Arsenal in the Saturday evening kick-off.

Whatever the route to securing the title, City will lift the Premier League trophy at the Etihad on Sunday if they are champions by full time against Chelsea. They would be favourites to beat Frank Lampard’s expensive-but-incoherent squad, and despite the highs of reaching a Champions League final on Wednesday, expect Pep Guardiola to go strong if points are still needed.

Should Arsenal lose at the City Ground on Saturday, however, Guardiola can start thinking towards a change in priorities. The Premier League title will be won, and step one of three will be secured on the way to a treble. The remaining three league games in the coming seven days, starting against Chelsea, would be an opportunity to rest tired players, try different systems if needed, and give minutes to fringe players.

The chance to rest and rotate with three games to spare ahead of the FA Cup final, and then the Champions League final, is one that would greatly appeal to Guardiola, and give the treble chances a boost in the process.

Of course, there is the need to keep up momentum. It would be a huge mental boost to go to Wembley with a 26-game unbeaten run, and 14 straight wins in the league. The week to prepare for the cup final and another week to prepare for Istanbul also gives plenty of time to rest tired legs. Another week before that, albeit with three games to play, would mean that City arrive at stages two and three of the treble bid in perfect condition.

Even if City somehow don’t win the title this weekend, they know one win from their next three will be enough, and they can still rest players against Brentford on the final day. But for the maximum opportunity to rest players, a helping hand from Nottingham Forest against Arsenal would give the treble chances an almighty boost.