|Granit Xhaka celebrates after his screamer beat David De Gea in the United goal on Saturday. Arsenal won 3-1 to leapfrog Spurs in fourth place. (Photo credit: Premierleague.com)
Arsenal regained the top four advantage over Tottenham and Manchester United with a 3-1 success over the Red Devils at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The Gunners had slipped to sixth on the table and were in
dire danger of missing out on the top four or even the top six altogether after
three consecutive losses to Crystal Palace, Brighton, and Southampton, but the
win over Chelsea in midweek restored some beliefs in the squad.
Manchester United went into the lunchtime kickoff against
Arsenal on the back of a 4-0 humbling at Anfield and needed to beat Arsenal to
throw the race open again but it fell apart for Ralf Rangnick's side as early
as the second minute.
Cristiano Ronaldo returned after missing the mauling against
Liverpool due to the loss of his son and as it was done at Anfield, the
Emirates Stadium paid tribute to the Portuguese in the 7th minute, although the
visitors were already behind to a Nuno Tavares strike.
Alex Telles misjudged a cross from the left and it handed
Bukayo Saka a chance to score from the right, David De Gea tipped it to the
path of the Portuguese left-back, he reacted faster than the United defense and
tapped into an empty net. It was his first goal in an Arsenal shirt for the 20-year-old.
Arsenal continued to dominate the affair and got a second on
the hour mark. Eddy Nketiah thought he had scored the second but a VAR review
revealed a tiny offside, however in the build-up, Bukayo Saka was hacked down
by Telles, referee Craig Pawson pointed to the spot for Saka to score from the
United struck back almost immediately. Ronaldo moved
brilliantly to divert a tidy Nemanja Matic's cross past Aaron Ramsdale, it was
his 100th premier league goal, coming eighteen years after his first for the
The second half saw a different Manchester United side. They
chased the game and had two big chances to claw things back; Bruno Fernandes
missed a penalty after Tavares handled in the area and Diogo Dalot crashed an
effort off the crossbar for the second time in the game.
Arsenal got the third that killed the game off when Granit
Xhaka sent a screamer beyond De Gea, it was Arsenal’s seventh goal in two
games, having managed just one in the three previous games before the visit to
Tottenham were held to a goalless draw by Brentford, handing
Arsenal a two-point lead in the race for the top four. It looks like it’s over
for United, they sit six points behind Arsenal and have played one game more
than the Gunners.