Arsenal retained control of the Premier League title race after Eddie Nketiah’s 90th-minute oal gave them a dramatic victory over Manchester United at Emirates Stadium.
Manchester City’s earlier victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers put pressure on Arsenal, but they responded with character and quality, even after falling behind, to take a five-point lead with a game in hand.
United’s man of the moment, Marcus Rashford, scored in the 17th minute with a superb right-foot strike from 25 yards.
Arsenal fought back and were level seven minutes later when Granit Xhaka’s cross created a heading opportunity for Nketiah’s goal , who beat Aaron Wan-Bissaka at the far post.
Arsenal took the lead eight minutes after the break thanks to an angled drive from Bukayo Saka, but their lead lasted only six minutes as Lisandro Martinez headed home his first goal for the club after keeper Aaron Ramsdale dropped a corner.
In the closing stages, Arsenal appeared to be the more likely winners, with Saka hitting the post and Nketiah denied by David de Gea’s outstanding save.
The pressure paid off in the dying moments when Nketiah – a striker who is filling in admirably for the injured Gabriel Jesus. Nketiah’s score from close range, sparking wild celebrations at Emirates Stadium.
The post-game celebrations on and off the field demonstrated the significance of Nketiah’s late winner.
A draw would not have been disastrous for Arsenal against Erik ten Hag’s improving Manchester United, but Nketiah’s last-gasp intervention lifted the entire mood.
Arsenal’s nerves were further tested when Rashford’s golden run continued and he put United ahead, knowing Manchester City were on their shoulders after beating Wolves.
Arsenal responded with the same intensity and quality that has defined their play on their way to the top of the table – ordered and composed, but still creating chances until Nketiah settled matters.
Saka and captain Martin Odegaard are creating chances and threats, while Nketiah is ensuring that the Gunners’ title challenge is not jeopardized by the absence of Gabriel Jesus, which many feared would seriously jeopardize their chances.
Manchester United believed they had done all the hard work as the clock ticked down and their defense, led by Martinez, held firm.
So it was understandable that they appeared distraught when the brief hope provided by a VAR check on Nketiah’s winner was extinguished and they simply did not have enough time to salvage a point.