Arsene Wenger has pinpointed that Arsenal's defeat to Manchester United and Swansea City in the Premier League – coupled with injuries – led to their failure to challenge for the title this season. The Gunners suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Red Devils at home, followed by a 2-1 away loss against the Welsh club in the next league fixture on 3 March.
The north London club were without the services of key players like Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla for the majority of the season. The midfield duo are yet to make a return to the first team from injuries, while the former United man returned to action in February.
Wenger witnessed his side get eliminated from the Champions League and the FA Cup in March, while also falling behind in the title chase. The Emirates club now sit on fourth spot with 63 points from 34 matches, but a victory over Sunderland would see them move above Manchester City to third place.
Arsenal managed only three wins after their defeat to Louis van Gaal's side. And Wenger believes the Gunners' failure to win those league fixtures allowed his side to slip in the title race.
"There were two turning games - Man United and Swansea. At the end of the day, we had many injuries and it was the first time where we could not do a lot about it," Wenger told Sky Sports.
"We didn't have Welbeck, Wilshere, Cazorla, all traumatic injuries, not muscular. The positive thing is we discovered players like Elneny and Iwobi. But we were not clinical enough.
"The quality of our game collectively for most of the season was good and in March and April, but we didn't get the points we needed and we were in a position where we had to win every game so it makes it more difficult.
"Then the coincidence of fixtures. Now we play Sunderland, and we could have played a Sunderland on holiday with nothing to go for, in March and April that has a big influence. I have seen games recently where teams didn't turn up. That has changed a bit in the Premier League as well," he added.