LONDON – Arsenal restored their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League as Eddy Naktia scored twice, including a 90th-minute winner, in a 3-2 defeat of Manchester United. In a fierce clash in the Emirates on Sunday.
It looked like the honor would end even with United resisting a late Gunners siege but Nikita tapped in from close range to send the home fans into raptures.
A game that fully lived up to expectations saw Marcus Rashford give United the lead with a superb early opener only for Nketiah to head Arsenal level in the first half.
Bukayo Saka’s scintillating drive gave Arsenal the lead in the 53rd minute, but Lizandro Martinez’s header equalized before the hour mark to set up an absorbing finale.
Saka struck the post and Nikita was denied by David De Gea but the hosts were relentless as they avenged their defeat to United earlier in the season – their only defeat.
Mikel Arteta’s side have 50 points from 19 games, their best performance in the first half of a Premier League campaign, with City 20 to 45 and United fourth on 39, below Newcastle United on goal difference. Is.
“You could see how much we wanted to win and how bad we wanted it for us and our fans,” said youth product Nikitia, who scored seven goals in his last seven games as a stand-in for the injured Gabriel Jesus. are, said.
“We kept pushing and pushing and thankfully got the goal.”
Arsenal’s title credentials are no longer in question and victory against United was another big statement after the champions got within two points of City.
United are in superb form, winning five of their last six in the league, and carried that confidence into the early stages despite being without suspended midfielder Casemiro.
It took just 17 minutes for them to take the lead and it was no surprise that the in-form Rashford scored.
When Arsenal lost the ball in midfield, the ball fell to Rashford’s feet and after Thomas Partey got past him, he cut in before curling a low shot from just outside the penalty area that screamed near the post.
It was a shock for Arsenal who had not conceded so early all season but they responded impressively.
United unnecessarily conceded a corner after trying to play from the back and Arsenal played the ball to Granit Xhaka, who delivered an intriguing cross for Nectia to make a perfectly timed diving header. Thrown into the back of the net.
Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale was forced to save from Scott McTominay as the frenetic pace continued into half-time.
The hosts stepped up a gear in the second half and Saka headed past Rashford in the 53rd minute to give them the lead. Cutting in from the right, he unleashed a brilliant left-footed shot that left DG no chance.
United came back though and were level six minutes later when Ramsdale failed to deal properly with a high ball and the ball went to Martinez who curled a lobbed header into the back of the net.
Arsenal began to turn the tide and with 20 minutes remaining Saka almost restored Arsenal’s lead with a carbon copy of his own goal but this time the ball clipped the outside of the post and De Gea saved from Nikita. So it looked like the hosts would have to take the lead. Solve for a point.
But Nikitia, who has established himself as a fans’ favourite, was on hand to flick home in the 90th minute after a low cross was deflected into his path.
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