Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal cemented their title
credentials with another monumental victory over Manchester United at the
Emirates Stadium on Sunday night. The Gunners produced an inspired performance
to put the Red Devils to the sword, with Eddie Nketiah scoring a 90th-minute
winner to give the North London side a 3-2 victory and restore their five-point
lead at the top of the table over Manchester City.
In a game which had shades of the iconic
rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United teams of old, the two sides went
toe to toe in the first half to liven up the contest. The Gunners got off to
their typical fast start in front of their home crowd. However, it was the away
side who took the lead against the run of play, with Marcus Rashford scoring
his ninth goal in nine appearances. The in-form forward nutmegged Thomas Partey
in the Arsenal half before unleashing a venomous strike from outside of the box
to wrong-foot Aaron Ramsdale and find the back of the net, giving Manchester
United an early 1-0 advantage.
That lead lasted only six minutes as the
Gunners equalised through Eddie Nketiah. The hosts recycled possession after a
corner, and the English striker shadowed past Aaron Wan-Bissaka before heading
in Granit Xhaka’s cross to make it 1-1. Arsenal dominated the proceedings for
the majority of the first half and eventually took the lead shortly after the
break, thanks to another sublime strike from Bukayo Saka.
The winger scored on his third successive
appearance against Manchester United, cutting inside on his left foot and
curling an unstoppable strike past David de Gea into the far corner. The away
side, though, hit back just moments afterwards. Aaron Ramsdale failed to make
clean contact from a Manchester United corner, allowing Lisandro Martinez to
pounce and send his looping header into the back of the net over Gabriel.
United decided to shut up shop after the
equaliser, and Arsenal launched wave after wave of attacking pressure to find
the winning goal. Mikel Arteta brought on new signing Leandro Trossard in the
final moments to spur the Gunners forward, and after being denied by the post
and an outstanding de Gea save, Arsenal clinched the victory in the dying minutes.
Eddie Nketiah got on the end of Martin
Odegaard’s pass, tapping in from a close distance to send the Emirates Stadium
into raptures. The Gunners have now collected 50 points from 19 matches at the
halfway mark, their best-ever start to a Premier League campaign, giving them a
five-point buffer over Manchester City in second with a game in hand.