Arsenal managed to leapfrog Manchester United to the fourth position on the Premier League table after they secured a 2-0 win against them at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. The Gunners opened the scoring with a stunning swerving shot from Granit Xhaka in the 12th minute and they managed to hold onto the advantage until the break despite the United pressure.
In the second period, the visitors were once more the dominant side in terms of the possession but the game went from their grasp after the Gunners were rewarded with a penalty which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted in the 69th minute. With the victory, the north London side have managed to claim the fourth spot in the standings ahead of United, who are two points adrift of them.
Two things we learned:
Arsenal enhance their top-four prospects: Arsenal have endured another mixed season in the Premier League where they have failed to come anywhere close to challenging for the title. Still, they can make the season a successful one, should they manage to achieve a top four spot and qualify for the Champions League next term. At present, the Gunners have a two-point advantage over United in the race for the position but in hindsight, they hold a greater advantage, given they have finished their matches against the top-six for the campaign. The Gunners will have some concerns with five of their final eight league games being on the road, but the failure to finish in the Champions League places from this stage, would no doubt disappoint the supporters. Arsenal’s next league game comes against Newcastle United on March 31.
Romelu Lukaku’s finishing comes under question: Lukaku had come into the Arsenal game in prime form after contributing two goals in each of the previous three matches including the shock Champions League triumph at Paris Saint-Germain. However, the Belgian went into his old habits against the Gunners where scuffed an early effort onto the crossbar before failing to convert with another close-range effort which was impressively saved by goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who had the perfect game for the Gunners. United fans have savoured the recent form of Lukaku under caretaker Ole, but there will be concerns about the Belgian’s form against top-six opposition, given he has netted just once from the previous 17 meetings. The defeat on Sunday was United’s first in the league since Ole took over the interim role in December.
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