Football, Premier League

Arsenal vs Man United: Gunners go top after toothless Red Devils rue missed chances

With a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League, advancing the title fight to the last day.

The Gunners took the lead early on thanks to a goal from Kai Havertz’s right wing cross. Despite strong efforts by Erik ten Hag’s injured United, Mikel Arteta’s team was able to keep their 18th clean sheet of the league season.

They are now one point ahead of the defending champions Manchester City, who have a game coming up on Tuesday at Tottenham thanks to the three points. The Premier League title race will now go to the last day of the season, regardless of what transpires in midweek.

“We really wanted to knock that door and open that box of dreams to live the last day of the season in front of our people with the opportunity to win the Premier League,” Arteta stated following the match.

The men’s squad’s problems persisted on the day that Manchester United’s women’s team won the FA Cup at Wembley. With this loss, they are now three points behind Chelsea and Newcastle in ninth place, making it unlikely that they will make it to Europe.

“We can face the fans,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports. “On Monday, we definitely couldn’t face them, but you can see the fans are behind us. Today, we gave it back to them. That should be the standard.

“Attitude. It always starts with the right attitude. That’s what we have to build during the week. Matchday, you have to be spot on. Today we did. When you’re missing seven starting players, we are competitive with one of the best teams in the league.

“The fans understand where they are. If we have so many injuries, especially in key areas, you don’t get what you deserve. The fans are behind us, that’s why they are with us. We are United. We have a strong bond and hopefully we can pay them back in the future.”

On the attitude being questioned, he added: “Maybe at Palace, but these are human beings. Once in three months you may not have the right attitude. Monday we answered to that, but this team always has a good spirit. I can only be happy. Big compliment to this team.

“We have problems, the problems cost us results. But I don’t know where we should be when we have all the players on board. If you have the players on board, you get more points. Especially in the backline, we concede a lot of chances and a lot of goals. Last season, we had the most clean sheets in the Premier League.”

Asked in the press conference afterwards whether he felt he could have done more himself this season, Ten Hag answered: “Any manager can always do better. But I have been two years here and only one time have I had all my players. You cannot progress a team like that. Particularly in certain key areas, so many injuries, it is like swimming with your hands [tied behind] your back.

“You have to keep your head up above the water level. That is what we are trying to do. Still, we are in a cup final. That is good. But to progress it you need fit players. You see that with our opponent today, they had only one player not 100 per cent. We had so many.”

“We know how tough it is, that’s why we have only won twice in 21 matches here,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “We started the game really well, the goal affected us with the things we had to do on the ball.

“Playing backwards, playing safe, it wasn’t progressing our play. We started to give our balls away and it was open. But the way we defended, we didn’t give away much at all.

“The attitude of the whole team, the way Kai was chasing people all the time, the discipline and creating habits that were super important were very good today. It’s a collective thing.

“We are really happy to win, especially what we did in the second half. That’s another step the team has to make, to be even more dominant. But it was high stakes today, the same at Spurs, great credit.

“You don’t have margins for error, these are big teams that make things difficult against you and you have will to win, that’s emotional.

“Today we wanted to open the door, last day in front of our people, our families will be there, let’s create the most beautiful day together.”

Asked if he has his Tottenham pyjamas for Tuesday because he will be cheering on his rivals, Arteta said: “We will certainly be watching the game. We watch all the games. We need the result. It’s football, there are always possibilities.”

Sunday, May 19, is the final day of the Premier League. Arsenal hosts Everton, while Man Utd travels to Burnley.

Prior to that, on Wednesday, May 15, United plays Newcastle at Old Trafford.

Other posts by