Arsenal maintains title ambitions with a crucial victory over Manchester United.

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Arsenal maintains title ambitions with a crucial victory over Manchester United. Leandro Trossard’s early strike secured the Gunners three crucial points, putting them back atop the Premier League standings with one week remaining in the season.

After Arsenal defeated Manchester United 1-0 in a fierce match, the Premier League title contest will go down to the very last day.

With one week remaining in the season, Mikel Arteta’s Gunners retook the lead, putting pressure on championship contenders Manchester City, who will crucially play their game in hand on Tuesday away to Tottenham. After a promising start for United, Leandro Trossard opened the score in the 20th minute by finishing a Kai Havertz cutback. 

Arsenal secured all three points, aided by United’s lackluster offensive performance. At this stage, Erik ten Hag’s faltering team can only hope to be involved in a title fight. The Red Devils’ current goals are to finish sixth in the Premier League and win the FA Cup once their miserable season ends.

These are five points of discussion from Old Trafford. 

1. Ten Hag’s risk is unsuccessful.

In this week’s Stick to Football podcast, Roy Keane preferred a “youth team player” to Casemiro at center-back after seeing the latter’s awful performance in Monday’s crushing 4-0 loss to Crystal Palace. Erik ten Hag disagreed, choosing instead to start the defense’s most vulnerable player, Casemiro, in place of the healthy Willy Kambwala.

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Arsenal started the game brightly and turned the screw after the hosts’ first fifteen minutes of possession. They scored without even pulling out their drill. The Gunners swiftly took advantage of a challenging pass made by Andre Onana to the left side of United’s assault, and Casemiro was still jogging back to tie the score with his teammates.

Kai Havertz, an Arsenal player who understood precisely what the Red Devils feared—a cutback—came forward along their right wing. Mikel Arteta’s title-chasing club took an easy lead thanks to a tap-in from Leandro Trossard. In their warm-up, the Gunners had even rehearsed techniques to create an overlap, a low pullback, and a finish.
Ten Hag’s faith in Casemiro was not fulfilled, and United’s astute assessment was that he needed more pace and familiarity with the position

Arsenal maintains title ambitions with a crucial victory
Arsenal maintains title ambitions with a crucial victory (Image Credit Getty)

2. The best return in Havertz career.

Who would have guessed that Arsenal needed a Kai Havertz at this time last year when their title challenge was falling apart? In the last 12 months, the German has contributed 20 goals, which is his highest total since his last campaign with Bayer Leverkusen before joining Chelsea.
The 24-year-old Havertz replaced Gabriel Jesus in the No. 9 position, preventing Gabriel Martinelli from playing, moving Trossard to the left of the front three rather than the middle. Havertz contributed more than just an assist in the first half, winning more aerial duels (four) and duels overall (seven) than any of his teammates during the first forty-five minutes of play.

3. Partey was described as “extremely fortunate.”

Even though there were rumors in January that Thomas Partey might leave Arsenal, he is starting the season with Declan Rice in midfield instead of Jorginho, who recently signed a new deal. Arteta has faith in the Ghanaian, but during a difficult first half in which he gave balls away and nearly gave up a penalty, Gunners supporters began to doubt his judgment.

Partey dived in, and his opponent went down. United winger Amad swerved inside and approached the Arsenal penalty area. Replays revealed that Amad had stepped on the Gunners midfielder’s foot, even though he just avoided clipping the Red Devils wide player.

Gary Neville expressed doubts during the Sky Sports broadcast despite the VAR team dismissing the appeal promptly, just like on-field referee Paul Tierney did. Commentator Keane stated at halftime, “He’s on the wrong side there.” What a fortunate youngster he is. It wasn’t a penalty.

According to Wayne Rooney, there is no penalty. Partey is fortunate to take off quickly and only sustain a minor injury from the ball. I don’t think it’s a penalty, but Partey is lucky.”

After the interval, Partey had not shed his anxieties either, sliding inside his box and offering United another glimmer of hope.

Thomas Partey (Image credit Getty)

4. Unbelievable United

You would think that Arsenal controlled the game after an entire hour of play without a shot on goal, but that was not the case. After numerous opportunities to test David Raya, the Red Devils eventually forced him to make a save in the 68th minute following a highly dubious sighting from Casemiro.

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Both halves saw several turnovers that United’s midfield and forward line took advantage of, yet at times, they played like rabbits in headlights, making poor passes or blocking shots. The Mancunian afternoon brightness transformed into an evening downpour, much to the dismay of the Old Trafford crowd, which cheered them on.

William Saliba’s precise challenge of Alejandro Garnacho epitomized Arsenal’s confidence within their box and demonstrated the differences between these two elite teams in 2024. Ten Hag’s team is still in eighth position, three points behind Wednesday’s opponents, Newcastle, who are in sixth place.

5. I give it to you, Tottenham

The crazy season warrants the crazy result: Arsenal supporters rooting for Tottenham. Spurs, who have a sizable support base that hopes they lose, stand in the way of holders Manchester City on Tuesday. They are almost sure to finish in fifth place.

With a victory, City can overtake Arsenal and hold the title in one hand. However, a draw would force the title fight to come down to goal differential on the penultimate day for the first time since 2012, when City defeated United with a last-minute goal from Sergio Aguero.

Source: Mirror