Arsenal edge past Man United to ensure Premier League title race goes down to wire

Leandro Trossard scores only goal of game at Old Trafford meaning battle with Man City for crown will be decided on last day of season

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Arsenal battled to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Manchester United that has ensured that the Premier League title race will not be decided until the final day of the season.

The pressure was back on Arsenal following Manchester City's 4-0 demolition of Fulham on Saturday that took Pep Guardiola's side two points clear with two games still to play.

And while it was far from the most fluid of Arsenal performances at Old Trafford, they did exactly enough to seal a vital victory and flip the spotlight back on to City, who take on Tottenham Hotspur in North London on Tuesday and then West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium five days later.

The Gunners have one game left, at home to Everton, as the season reaches its finale next Sunday.

The deciding moment against United came 20 minutes into a game in which United had started quite brightly, despite a makeshift centre of defence consisting of Casemiro – once again playing out of his midfield comfort zone due to injuries – and the veteran Jonny Evans.

And it was an error from the Brazilian that would prove costly, coming hot-on-the-heels of his nightmare performance in United's drubbing against Crystal Palace last Monday.

Arsenal defender Ben White sent the ball out wide on the right to Kai Havertz after the German was played onside by Casemiro who was ambling out from the penalty area.

The in-form former Chelsea attacker raced down the flank and his cutback was turned in at the near post by Leandro Trossard. The Belgian has perfected a useful knack of scoring vital goals during the title run-in and this was his 11th of the league season.

“We had only one job today and it was winning,” said the former Brighton player. “Maybe it wasn't the prettiest one but we stuck together, we defended well and in the end it's a good win for us, we did what we had to do.

“We were looking for the second goal and if it doesn't come you know it's going to be a tough second half, especially here with the atmosphere, they can hurt you in different ways.

“Man Utd are still a good team, so credit to the boys – we defended really well.

“Obviously we only have one objective, to win the league. We have done our job today and it will be up to the last game and that is what we are aiming for.

“Hopefully next week we can celebrate something, you never know it could be. We can only hope. We have done our job and that is the only thing we could have done.”

Another player vital to Arsenal's form this year has been Havertz with only Cole Palmer (19) having been involved in more Premier League goals in 2024 than the German's 14, with eight goals and six assists.

And Havertz also made it clear that sealing three points was all that mattered and is now hoping that Arsenal's North London rivals can do them a favour in midweek.

“Very important [result],” he said. “To play here is always tough. We prepared for the game very well, we didn't have our best game but in the end we needed that three points and we have it now. We can be very happy with that.

“We have to win every single game as City are always keeping the pressure on. It is so nice to be in the [title] race and every week you have to play at your best.

“When you do it, it feels even better. We have one game and we need the whole club behind us – anything is possible. I am going to be the biggest fan of Tottenham ever! Let’s hope for the best.”

In truth, Arsenal were rarely seriously troubled as they held out for a sixth clean sheet in their last seven away league games against a United side that mustered two shots on target over 90 minutes.

Gabriel Martinelli and Declan Rice were also denied by excellent Andre Onana saves in the last 20 minutes to prevent Arsenal grabbing the second goal they craved to ease the tension.

Erik ten hag's side are eighth in the table and their hopes of European football next season are hanging by a thread, having won just once in eight games.

They face sixth-place Newcastle United – who are three points ahead – in a crucial game at Old Trafford on Wednesday before travelling down to Brighton on the final day of the campaign.

"You see the fans are behind us. They fought with us," insisted Ten Hag. "Even when we miss seven starting XI players, we are competitive with one of the best teams in the league."

Updated: May 12, 2024, 6:59 PM