Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool exit shifts rivalry dynamics as Arsenal emerge as Man City’s closest rivals next season

Arsenal lost their stranglehold on the Premier League’s summit last weekend as Aston Villa shocked the Emirates Stadium. 

Unai Emery exacted revenge on his former employers as the Lions stunned the London outfit 2-0, allowing perennial champions Manchester City to go two points clear at the top.

Manager Mikel Arteta must have felt a sense of deja vu, with the Gunners’ valiant effort to end City’s reign of dominance starting to fall apart down the final stretch. 

Similarly to last season, Arteta’s men have been flirting with the Premier League title for almost the entire campaign, only to hand Pep Guardiola’s team a crucial boost just before the finish line. 

Guardiola’s arch-nemesis Jurgen Klopp also did him a favour, with Liverpool unexpectedly succumbing to a 1-0 home loss to bottom-half Crystal Palace hours before Arsenal’s slump against Villa. 

Removing the Spaniard from his throne was supposed to be Klopp’s farewell gift to the Anfield faithful in his swansong season on the island, but those dreams are now in tatters.

After a sub-par 2022/23 campaign, the Reds have joined Arsenal in a joint attempt to hinder Man City’s pursuit of an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League title.

However, the Cityzens are now alone at the top, and if recent history is anything to go by, they’ll climb to the podium come May. 

With Klopp set to halt his long-term association with Liverpool, the Premier League braces for a new rivalry between the mentor and his apprentice.

New Era

Arteta learned his trade under Guardiola’s stewardship at Man City, working as his compatriot’s assistant for three years before taking charge of Arsenal in 2019.

Like Guardiola, the 42-year-old is a perfectionist but also a good learner, considering the methods he implemented in North London since his appointment have turned the Gunners’ miserable fortunes around. 

With the odds stacked against Arsenal after finishing outside the Champions League spots six seasons on the trot, they pushed their limits to challenge Man City’s title credentials last term.

Despite failing, it was a sign of the Londoners’ resurrection.

They’ve also outperformed expectations this season, and the third time could be the charm, especially with Klopp out of the way. 

Arsenal set to fill the vacant spot

Klopp’s exit will change the Premier League landscape. Whoever takes his place at Anfield will have to deal with the significant pressure of living in the shadow of one of the Reds’ most charismatic managers. 

Even Klopp failed to produce immediate results upon his arrival on Merseyside, with Liverpool finishing eighth in his maiden season in charge.

On that basis, it’s almost impossible to expect them to muddy the waters at the top, which will open the vacancy, most likely for Arsenal to fill it. 

The rivalry between Guardiola and Klopp has highlighted recent Premier League history, and it’s likely up to Arteta to swoop in and assume the tag as the Spaniard’s number-one adversary. 

After years of suffering, the time has come for Arsenal to reclaim their status as the Premier League title challengers. 

A new dawn is on the horizon.

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