Eddie Nketiah scores two goals in Arsenal’s win over Manchester United (John Walton/PA)
Eddie Nketiah flicked the winner as Arsenal beat Manchester United in a five-goal thriller to successfully defend their Premier League title.
The striker has been in fine form since replacing the injured Gabriel Jesus and has now scored seveeeen goals in as many games, including Sunday’s final goal that sealed a 3-2 win over their old rivals at Emirates Stadium.
Marcus Rashford continued his fine form with a stunning opener for United which was canceled out by Nketiah before Bukayo Saka’s best finish put Arsenal ahead.
Lisandro Martinez, an Arsenal target last summer, then equalized for United after some poor defending but Nketiah scored through Martin Odegaard’s shot to secure a memorable win.
After seeing their eight-point lead at the top cut to just two after back-to-back wins for Manchester City since Arsenal’s win at Tottenham, Mikel Arteta’s side came off under pressure.
They had calls for a penalty denied when Bruno Fernandes was challenged by Aaron Ramsdale, a quick VAR check backing up referee Anthony Taylor’s call to reject the appeal, but celebrating anyway in the 17th minute.
Thomas Partey uncharacteristically lost possession cheaply before Rashford swept past and hit a fine low shot.
The game opened from then on, Scott McTominay – to replace the suspended Casemiro – forced Ramsdale to a smart stop with a shot from the edge of the box.
Arteta received a yellow card from referee Taylor following his protest over Luke Shaw’s foul on Saka as the first half ended with the two teams drawing.
That would change just eight minutes after the restart when Saka, given too much space and time, fired in a perfect shot from 25 yards to put Arsenal in front.
Ramsdale appeared man-of-the-match in the 2-0 win at Spurs last week and produced a superb save to deny Rashford an equalizer with a deflected effort.
The England keeper was, however, at fault for United’s equalizer after a mix-up with half-time substitute Takehiro Tomiyasu in the corner allowed Martinez to head in his first Red Devils goal.
After sharing four goals, both teams were looking for a winner when Saka scored from the same position only for his effort to turn off Christian Eriksen and cut the post.
Leandro Trossard, who joined Arsenal from Brighton on Friday, came on in the last 10 minutes of his Arsenal debut when David de Gea made a clever save from close range to deny Nketiah one second.
Arsenal are now top of the table with United unable to get out of their own box for long.
Eriksen led a rare attack for the visitors, winning a corner for a brief period but the Arsenal pressure finally unfolded as Nketiah’s reaction to a shot on target from Odegaard saw him divert the ball past De Gea.
A VAR check followed but the former England Under 21 striker was played onside by Wan-Bissaka and the goal was awarded, sending Emirates wild and leaving Arsenal five points clear of City with a game to spare.