Arsenal belief only growing despite title hopes being extinguished by Man City on final day

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

It took less than 90 seconds for the bubble to burst at Emirates Stadium.

Before kick-off, it had been a wall of noise as Arsenal fans dared to dream that their 20-year wait to win the Premier League was about to come to an end.

It did not take long, though, for news of Phil Foden’s goal against West Ham to filter through and the life was sucked out of everyone here at the Emirates.

That is typical of how Manchester City have operated during this title race, and the ones in years gone by.

Whenever anyone has a hint of belief - or there is a sense of jeopardy and drama - they swiftly put a stop to it.

An early City goal was the worst scenario for Arsenal and it always felt like they needed one themselves to create true belief this could be a historic day for the club.

Instead it was Everton who got the opener and, with City two goals to the good by that point, this quickly became a case of Arsenal trying to rouse themselves to ensure this fine season did not end on a whimper.

There were brief moments of hope, such as when Mohammed Kudus pulled one back for West Ham, but in truth the drama never lived up to what Arsenal fans, or the neutrals at home, craved.

In fact, the most excited those inside the Emirates got was when news of a fake West Ham equaliser spread round just before half-time.

It was not the goal Arsenal fans wanted and instead Everton were putting up the kind of resistance the Gunners hoped West Ham would be at the Etihad.

Sean Dyhce’s side had nothing to play for but pride, however they defend with real determination and made things difficult for Arsenal.

Jordan Pickford made several fine stops in the Everton goal and was only beaten when Takehiro Tomiyasu found the corner with a brilliant finish.

When the goal did finally come for Arsenal, it came with minutes to spare and the celebrations, certainly from the players, were muted.

Kai Havertz was in position to smash home a loose ball from Martin Odegaard’s shot and, while those in the stands went mad, the German was subdued.

He, in fairness, did not know that West Ham had, briefly, made it 3-2 before VAR ruled out Tomas Soucek’s goal.

Another moment of belief, that was taken away from Arsenal in a matter of seconds.