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Man City 115 charges and points deduction reality as Arsenal Premier League title hope explained

Arsenal news as title hopes remain for the 2023/24 season in more ways than one despite Manchester City beating Tottenham to close in

Manchester City could yet be punished by the Premier League later this year

Arsenal’s Premier League title hopes are hanging by a thread. They remain out of Mikel Arteta’s control, though anything other than a final-day victory over Everton is expected to be thoroughly punished by Manchester City anyway.

After Pep Guardiola’s side notched up their ninth domestic win in a row, the eighth in the league, by beating Tottenham on Tuesday, even Arsenal’s best efforts look like it won’t be enough. The game in north London had been billed as the last chance for the odds turn back in favour of the Gunners.

City now know that all they need to do is beat West Ham at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to secure a fourth title in a row. Only two years ago they had a similar situation on the final day against Aston Villa and went 2-0 down only to come back miraculously to lift the trophy. They have history with that sort of thing. Sergio Aguero, anyone?

To make matters worse, although it is David Moyes’ last game in charge of the Hammers, they have not won at the Etihad Stadium since September 2015. A draw would open the door to Arsenal, but even then there have only been three draws in this fixture in the last 16 meetings.

Moyes’ own personal record against Guardiola isn’t promising either. He has won once in 15 games (two of those as Manchester United manager against Bayern Munich in 2014, two in charge of Sunderland two years later), and that was in a penalty shootout two-and-a-half years ago. He has never won at the Etihad Stadium against City as a coach, and has only managed two points out of 36 against the Spaniard.

Arsenal’s only way to winning the title is by bettering City’s result against West Ham though.Matching wins will see them fall two points short even if the goal difference is better.

Should there be an unexpected draw in Manchester then Arsenal would be crowned champions with victory over Sean Dyche’s Toffees no matter the score. An even more shocking defeat for City changes little for Arsenal, though. Nothing but a win on the last day will be enough to have any hope of winning the title for the first time in 20 years.

However, there is one way that things could possibly go their way, and it extends beyond the end of the season. City, as is well documented, have the 115 Premier League charges hanging over their heads still.

The case is set to be heard later this year, with chief executive Richard Masters confirming that a date has been set for the trial, though nothing public has been announced. It is set to be a defining moment in English football history, something that goes above and beyond administration, points deductions, or other legal cases.

Unlike Everton, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, and Leicester City – all of whom have been charged and in some cases found guilty of wrongfully breaching the threshold of allowed losses under profitability and sustainability regulations (PSRs) – City are in a different boat. The allegations against them refer to reporting inaccurate financial figures, use of related parties, and unaccounted managerial remunerations, amongst other serious claims.

The purported crimes are bigger and more far-reaching than relatively simple loss-making, and subsequently the possibility remains that punishment could go above and beyond even points deductions that were handed out on an unprecedented scale this season. This is where Arsenal come in.

It is thought that the Premier League has the power to go as far as relegating clubs and stripping them of titles. Whether or not it would go that far or not is another question, the answer of which is still unknown.

Across Europe City wouldn’t be the first team to lose historic achievements in the courtroom. In 2006 Juventus were punished by the Italian football federation in a match-fixing scandal that had league-wide ramifications including a 15-point deduction, relegation, and retrospective sanction.

The Old Lady were stripped of two league titles including the Scudetto they had just won. Manchester City beware?

Should anything similar be the result of City’s trial – which they maintain the stance of vehemently denying allegations of wrongdoing, though as of yet providing evidence to support the claim – then Arsenal would stand to benefit. The Gunners were runners-up last year as the ongoing wait around the 115 charges went on, and now they will finish second at worst again.

Even in a best-case scenario (for Arsenal) of City being stripped of titles under the punishment, how it would be applied isn’t clear. The allegations refer to breaches across 10 years between 2008/09 and 2018/19, under the Abu Dhabi ownership group.

Although they would have gained from any wrongdoing moving forward due to financial advantages aiding transfers and squad building, the immediate impact was not during a time that Arsenal lost out to City. How the alleged breaches would be deemed to have played a role in the past two seasons is just another question to ask during the trial.

For Arsenal it may well not hold much weight currently as they deal with the reality of possibly falling short again. The title won’t be decided until all is over though, and with the sound of charges still in the background, some part of the race could live on for a while yet.

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