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Arsenal takes title race with Man City to final day of Premier League season


Monday May 13, 2024


Arsenal's Leandro Trossard, center, scores during the match between Manchester United and Arsenal on Sunday.Dave Thompson / AP

MANCHESTER, England — The Premier League title race will go to the last day of the season after Arsenal returned to the top of the standings with a 1-0 win at Manchester United on Sunday.

Leandro Trossard struck in the 20th minute at Old Trafford to ensure Arsenal will take defending champion Manchester City to the final round of games next Sunday.

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Anything other than a win against United for Mikel Arteta’s team could have seen City clinch the title with victory at Tottenham on Tuesday. Arsenal duly delivered and moved one point ahead of its title rival in second place.

Defeat for United was a latest blow for under pressure manager Erik ten Hag, whose team lost for the 14th time in the league this season and extended a damaging run that has seen it win just one of its last eight games in England’s top division.

Arsenal benefited from slack defending from United when makeshift center back Casemiro was slow to push up and played Kai Havertz onside. The German forward took advantage and drove into the box before crossing for Trossard to convert from close range.

Arsenal will host Everton in the final round, when City is at home against West Ham.

For now, Arsenal has done all it could to keep the pressure on Pep Guardiola’s team — improving on last season when a late collapse by the Gunners allowed City to wrap up a third successive title with three games to spare.

While the title is still in City’s hands, it will have to win the remaining two games to be certain of a record fourth-straight English league title.

Arsenal is aiming to be crowned champion for the first time since 2004, when Arsene Wenger’s team went an entire league campaign without defeat to earn the nickname of the “Invincibles.”

The visit to Old Trafford always looked like its biggest test during the run-in and history was not on Arsenal’s side, having won only once in its last 16 games at the home of United. Even so, Arsenal was the favorite to overcome a United team that had been ruthlessly exposed by Crystal Palace earlier in the week when routed 4-0 at Selhurst Park.

Casemiro had received heavy criticism for his performance against Palace, but Ten Hag asked the Brazilian to reprise that role against Arsenal which has one of the most lethal attacks in the league.

It should not have come as a surprise that he was culpable as Arsenal took an early lead.

The bigger surprise was that Arteta’s team did not build on that advantage and instead ceded long periods of possession to United, without ever looking likely to concede.

The second half was also short of openings until substitute Gabriel Martinelli weaved his way through United’s box and forced Andre Onana to push away an effort that was heading for the top corner.

The United goalkeeper had to produce two more saves in quick succession — first to prevent Aaron Wan-Bissaka from heading into his own net and then to palm away Declan Rice’s long-range effort into the bottom corner.



 





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