By Tosin Deba
Arsenal made a huge statement in their bid to win a first title in 19 years, defeating Manchester United 3-2 at the Emirates with a last-minute winner from Eddie Nketiah.
United got an early first-half lead, thanks to a Rashford screamer before an Eddie Nketiah header levelled it going into halftime.
Almost a mirror to the first, Bukayo Saka scored a long-range belter before it got cancelled out by a clever Lisandro Martinez header within minutes.
Arsenal have now got 50 points midway through the season, and crucially have a five-point lead over defending champions Manchester City with a game in hand.
Even though they still need to play two against Pep Guardiola’s side, they have nonetheless given themselves a big cushion at the top.
League leaders, Arsenal will hope to avoid any slip ups when Manchester United come to visit the Emirates on Sunday.
United, the only team to defeat Arsenal this season, will be looking to put the midweek result against Crystal Place in the rearview mirror and begin afresh.
The Red Devils, who were leading 1-0 till the 90+1 minutes had to settle for a point against the Eagles when Michael Olise’s inch perfect free kick cancelled out Bruno Fernandes’ 44th minute strike.
Arsenal, meanwhile, thrashed local rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in their last Premier League game, continuing their march towards the title.
A perfectly balanced team, the Gunners have finally found the necessary synergy between their frontline and the backline, which makes them the favourites to go all the way this season.
Keeping 10 clean sheets and conceding the second-least number of goals hasn’t hurt either.
United were brought down from their high of beating rivals Manchester City over the weekend by a dogged Palace, ending their winning run.
Another huge blow for the side coming out of the Palace game is that midfield maestro Casemiro will be sidelined for the Arsenal clash due to the accumulation of too many yellow cards.
Manager Erk Ten Hag, however, said: “Last time we beat Arsenal without Casemiro, we have to do the same.”