Arsenal are back in the Premier League’s top four after beating Manchester United.
The quality of opposition makes Arsenal’s recent victories even more impressive. Mikel Arteta‘s side went to Stamford Bridge and beat Chelsea 4-2 in midweek. They followed that up with another magnificent win, getting the better of top-four rivals Manchester United 3-1 at the Emirates on Saturday.
The Gunners may have lost momentum at the start of April, but it looks like the North London outfit are back on course to end the season strongly.
Arsenal gun down lacklustre Manchester United
Arsenal vs Manchester United was tipped to be a chaotic game, and that was how it turned out. Both teams demonstrated flashes of attacking verve but were equally sloppy in defence. However, the Gunners proved to be the better side over 90 minutes. They enjoyed the larger share of possession and, more importantly, took their chances.
Nuno Tavares’ early goal gave Mikel Arteta’s side the impetus to start on the front foot. They capitalised on that to double their lead after the half-hour mark, with Bukayo Saka scoring from the penalty spot.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal two minutes later reduced arrears for the Red Devils as the visitors began to play with renewed energy. However, after Ronaldo had an effort ruled out for offside and Bruno Fernandes fluffling a spot-kick against the post, Granit Xhaka’s 70th-minute stunner sealed the contest.
Arsenal have folded in many close games this season, but they held their own against Ralf Rangnick’s side and deserved to win the game.
Gunners in control of top-four race
The Gunners have been in this position before and have capitulated many times. The Gunners, though, are now back in the Premier League top four and look good to stay there with only five games left. They lead fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur by two points.
Beating United means the Gunners have blown a direct rival out of contention, but with Spurs breathing down their neck, the top-four race could go down to the wire.
“We wanted to start the game really quick, really fast. Dominating them, creating issues, very vertical, and we managed to do that. We dominated big periods in the first half,” Arteta said post-match, as quoted by Arsenal.com.
“We scored two goals. But then that moment when they scored straight after our second goal, left us a little bit cold and insecure to how they reacted. So we had a period of five to ten minutes where we weren’t really clear on what to do, and we were trembling. This is why we are here, to play big matches that can define big moments, and that’s the beauty of this game.”
The Gunners return to the UEFA Champions League after five years is in their hands, and they cannot fritter away the advantage again.