Arsenal grind out Man Utd win to go top of the Premier League

Arsenal grind out Man Utd win to go top of the Premier League

May 12, 2024 at 5:35 PM
Leandro Trossard (left) scored the winner as Arsenal beat Manchester United 1-0
Leandro Trossard (left) scored the winner as Arsenal beat Manchester United 1-0. Photo: Paul ELLIS / AFP
Source: AFP

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Arsenal kept their Premier League title dreams alive by ending an Old Trafford hoodoo to grind out a 1-0 win at Manchester United on Sunday to move back top of the table.

Leandro Trossard scored the only goal on 20 minutes as Arsenal won for just the second time in 17 games away at United to go a point clear at the summit.

Manchester City still have the destiny of the title in their own hands as the defending champions have two matches left to Arsenal's one.

However, the Gunners kept the pressure on Pep Guardiola's men ahead of their tricky trip to Tottenham on Tuesday.

Defeat further dented United's chances of competing in Europe next season.

Erik ten Hag's men showed more spirit than in a dismal 4-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Monday, but have now won just one of their last eight Premier League games.

United remain eighth in the table, three points adrift of both Newcastle, who they face on Wednesday, and Chelsea.

Arsenal have been in scintillating form in 2024 to remain in the race for their first league title in 20 years.

Mikel Arteta's men have won 15 and drawn one of their 17 league games since the turn of the year.

But Arsenal were far from their flowing best as the expected onslaught of an injury-ravaged United never materialised under unusually stifling heat in England's north-west.

The manner of defeat at Palace had increased the scrutiny on United boss Ten Hag.

He made three changes to the team swept aside at Selhurst Park as Scott McTominay, Sofyan Amrabat and Amad Diallo came in.

The Dutchman's options were again hamstrung by a lengthy list of absentees with captain Bruno Fernandes among those sidelined and a bench littered with youngsters.

But his decision to retain Casemiro as a makeshift centre-back after his woeful showing against Palace will become another stick to beat the beleaguered coach with.

The Brazil captain was dropped from their squad for the Copa America in midweek due to his terrible form.

After United had managed to keep the free-scoring visitors at bay for the opening 20 minutes, Casemiro was culpable for the opening goal.

The 32-year-old was laboured in pushing up from a United goal-kick to play Kai Havertz onside and Trossard then stole in on the blind side of Casemiro to tap in the German's cross.

United's new co-owner Jim Ratcliffe was in attendance at Old Trafford rather than at Wembley to see the club's women pick up their first ever major trophy in the FA Cup final.

The work that lies ahead of Ratcliffe has been laid bare in recent weeks, but the home side did manage to keep the majority of the 74,000 crowd onside by taking the game to Arsenal after the break.

Arsenal, though, were rarely seriously troubled as they held out for a sixth clean sheet in their last seven away league games.

Alejandro Garnacho was United's one live wire but smashed into the side-netting with his best chance to equalise.

Gabriel Martinelli and Declan Rice were denied by brilliant Andre Onana saves to prevent Arsenal the second goal they craved to avoid a tense finale.

The visitors desperation to see the game out was evident as Martinelli took the ball to the corner with 10 minutes of the 90 still to play.

But Arsenal did just enough to ask the question City, who host West Ham on the final day of the season after their visit to north London in midweek.

AFP photo