Two goals from Eddie Nketiah, including a late winner helped Arsenal to a 3-2 victory against a dogged Manchester United side on Sunday night, to maintain their five points lead at the English Premier League summit.
Arsenal, who have only dropped a point at the Emirates Stadium this season were not at their best, but dug deep and found a way to clinch all three points against Erik ten Hag’s inform side.
Credit to United who did not allow Arsenal play with the intensity that has made them dominate games all season particularly in the first half. The home side looked shaky and found it difficult to string passes together for long periods.
Perhaps, the home side were haunted by the manner they lost the reverse fixture at Old Trafford, which ended 3-1 in favour of United, despite their dominance for most of the game.
Rashford then capitalised on a lose ball in the midfield to put United in front after 17 minutes with a long range swerving shot from outside the box into the bottom corner to continue his fine goalscoring run.
Arsenal responded seven minutes later through an Eddie Nketiah header as the striker found himself unmarked to connect with Granit Xhaka’s inviting cross.
While the first 45 minutes ended one goal apiece, the second half was however more entertaining and produced three goals. Mikel Arteta’s men showed some improvement on the ball and in their decision making, with Oleksandr Zinchenko at the heart of everything good the home side did.
Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal the lead out of nothing eight minutes after the restart, hitting a left-footed low drive from yards out. Lisandro Martinez drew United level with a diving header in the 59th minute, following a goalkeeping error from Aaron Ramsdale who failed to parry a corner to safety.
Saka then hit the post in the 69th minute from the same angle he scored from, with David De Gea well beaten. De Gea was however on hand to save Nketia’s close range effort in the 83rd minute, as the home side piled the pressure with flurry of attacks.
With eight minutes left on the clock and the Gunners in search of the winner, Arteta brought in new signing, Leandro Trossard for Gabriel Martinelli, who has not been his usual explosive self in the last three games probably due to burn out. The 28-year-old Belgian had a very good cameo and a hand in Arsenal’s winning goal.
Nketia eventually won the game for Arsenal with a delightful back-heel finish right at the death. The goal’s eligibility was however put to scrutiny by VAR, but was allowed to stand after a lengthy check. It his the forward’s 13th goal in his 13 home starts.
Arsenal, with a game in hand, have garnered 50 points from 19 games so far, and travel to relegation threatened Everton for their next game.
Having picked up 25 points out of a possible 30 points from 10 games on the road, they will hope to get maximum result against the Toffees and hold on to the lead at the top of the table, as their title charge now looks ever realistic with each passing game.