When Arsenal let their 2-0 lead slip to go 3-2 down at West Ham United on Saturday their faint Premier League title hopes all but ended, with the 3-3 full-time score unlikely enough to keep them in the race. Arsene Wenger's men are now 13 points behind Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City, who only need to win two of their five remaining games to make sure of glory. Leicester have managed to grind out several 1-0 victories lately to keep their stunning title charge going, but Arsenal's repeated failure to protect leads have cost them dearly.
Here's a look at five Premier League games where the Gunners should have collected three points but didn't:
Arsenal had a chance to go top of the standings with a win and looked set to do so when Olivier Giroud put them 1-0 up with a header. But everything went wrong for Wenger's team after that. Francis Coquelin sustained a serious knee injury that ruled him out for more than two months, before his replacement, Mikel Arteta, netted an own goal to give West Brom a 2-1 win despite Arsenal having 70 percent possession in the game. To make it worse, Santi Cazorla slipped when taking a late penalty that would have secured a point. No wonder Wenger called the game "a nightmare" after the final whistle.
Another game where "1-0 to the Arsenal" wasn't enough for a victory. The Gunners followed up the West Brom loss with two more points dropped at Norwich after settling for a 1-1 draw. Again the Gunners started brightly and went ahead through Mesut Ozil after a mistake by goalkeeper John Ruddy. Ozil dominated this game in midfield, but Arsenal couldn't build on their lead before allowing an equaliser just before half-time. They controlled possession but injuries rocked them again as they lost both Laurent Koscielny and Alexis Sanchez. And toward the end, Norwich had the better chances for a winner.
A draw was probably a fair result in this game but it felt like an opportunity wasted for Arsenal after they conceded an injury-time equaliser at Anfield. Giroud's impressive brace had helped Arsenal come from a goal down twice to lead 3-2, but the Gunners couldn't find a way to close out the result. Showing the same weakness in the air that Wenger lamented after the West Ham game, Arsenal's defenders couldn't prevent Christian Benteke from heading down a cross in the area for Joe Allen to slot home. Having conceded a similar late equaliser at Anfield last season, it left the feeling that Arsenal still hadn't developed the fortitude needed to win big games.
This game was perhaps the biggest let-down of Arsenal's season and the 2-1 loss raised the level of discontent among supporters to new levels. Coming off a lacklustre display in the 3-2 defeat to Manchester United, the Gunners needed to bounce back to keep the pressure on Leicester. And once again, they dominated early and went ahead through Joel Campbell, who looked keen to prove a point after being dropped in previous games. Arsenal looked to be in full control, only to find another way of capitulating. Ashley Williams' winner came cheaply as well after poor defending from a set piece. And of course, there was the customary injury blow as Petr Cech hurt his calf -- while running up the pitch to try and head in a late equaliser from a corner.
While 1-0 leads have rarely looked safe for Arsenal this season, Wenger's team had not lost a Premier League game after going 2-0 up since 2010. So when Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez scored two quick goals in the first half, the Gunners' title charge looked set to live on a little while longer. But Arsenal's defenders showed again that they can't deal with big powerful forwards in the air as Andy Carroll scored a quick hat trick from three crosses into the box. Wenger, who had left his tallest player in Per Mertesacker on the bench for this encounter, said he hadn't expected Carroll to start -- despite acknowledging that aerial weaknesses have plagued his team all season. While Koscielny netted an equaliser, it was a game that seemed to symbolise Arsenal's entire season as a massive opportunity wasted.