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England: Arsenal on target, Manchester City under pressure

  • May 4, 2024
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Leader Arsenal, in the race for a first title since 2004, beat Bournemouth (3-0) on Saturday in London and pushed their current runner-up Manchester City to four points, which however has two games in hand.

A penalty from Bukayo Saka (45th), a goal from Leandro Trossard (70th) and a final one from Declan Rice (90th+7) allowed the “Gunners” to pocket a fourteenth victory in sixteen championship matches played in 2024.

Since the winter break, the Londoners have maintained a hellish pace with 43 points taken out of 48 possible, with 51 goals scored against only 8 conceded.

Arsenal have 83 points, four more than Manchester City, ahead of their final two matches of the season against Manchester United at Old Trafford and Everton at home.

City, the three-time defending champion, keeps its destiny in its own hands, however, before hosting Wolverhampton late in the afternoon (6:30 p.m.) and going to Tottenham on May 14 for a late match.

“Manchester City are a machine and they don’t lose much. Anything can happen in football. Surprises and miracles can happen and we just have to stay focused,” midfielder Declan Rice told TNT Sports.

20 goals for Saka

England: Arsenal on target, Manchester City under pressure

Arsenal midfielder Bukayo Saka escapes a tackle on Saturday against Bournemouth, and will score his 20th goal of the season in all competitions in this Premier League match. / JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

On Saturday, Arsenal showed itself to be patient and insistent in a first period largely to their advantage, both in possession and in opportunities: 16 shots (including 5 on target) compared to just one (not on target) for the visitors.

But the Gunners sometimes lacked precision, as with this powerful strike from Rice (38th), or came across a vigilant goalkeeper, notably when French defender William Saliba chained an offensive build-up, dribble and left shot (18th).

The opposing goalkeeper, Mark Travers, however, made a mistake by catching the foot of Kai Havertz, launched in depth by a perfectly measured pass from captain Martin Odegaard.

At the age of 22, 14 of which he spent at the club, Bukayo Saka took responsibility for a penalty (45th, 1-0) to score his twentieth goal of the season, in all competitions.

No Arsenal player has reached this mark since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2019-2020 (29 goals). The last Englishman to achieve this, in the red jersey, was Theo Walcott in 2012-2013 (21 goals).

England: Arsenal on target, Manchester City under pressure

Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers intervenes on an Arsenal corner on Saturday in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium in London. / JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

In the second half, Mikel Arteta’s team controlled the proceedings a little less, giving themselves a few scares defensively. David Raya had to work in front of Dominic Solanke (53rd) and the referee refused a goal from Antoine Semenyo (73rd) for a previous foul by Solanke on the Spanish goalkeeper.

But the Gunners increased their lead with an assist from Declan Rice for Leandro Trossard (70th, 2-0) and a final goal scored by the English midfielder, last summer’s flagship recruit, at the end of added time (90th+ 7, 3-0).

Arsenal have been in the fight for the title for “nine months, nine and a half months, now there are two weeks left”, Arteta put into perspective at a press conference. “We are closer to where we were yesterday and we hope we can bring this title here,” he concluded.