Granit Xhaka Scores A Belter To Strengthen Arsenal Top Four Hopes Against Manchester United. Arsenal bolstered their Premier League top-four ambitions with a 3-1 win over Manchester United on Saturday afternoon.
Arsenal recalled Cedric Soares as their lone change from the win at Chelsea, while United welcomed Cristiano Ronaldo back after the defeat at Anfield and dropped captain Harry Maguire.
After goalkeeper David De Gea palmed Bukayo Saka’s left-footed curler, Nuno Tavares tucked home a loose ball from close range, it didn’t take the Gunners long to relax.
Following the midway point, Arsenal’s lead was threatened when Diogo Dalot dropped a shoulder on the edge of the box and clattered the woodwork with an ambitious shot.
Despite this, Arsenal extended their advantage at the half-hour mark when Saka calmly converted a penalty after Alex Telles was fouled seconds after Eddie Nketiah’s strike was overruled.
🔴 Tavares 3'
🔴 Saka (p) 32'
🔺 Ronaldo 34'
❌ Fernandes (p) 57'
🔴 Xhaka 70'
— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) April 23, 2022
Ronaldo raced ahead of Gabriel in the box and fired Nemanja Matic’s cross into the near corner for his 100th Premier League goal, reviving the Red Devils.
Telles’ acrobatic volley outside the area and Martin Odegaard’s curler on the outside of the box gave both teams chances in the final seconds of the half.
The Red Devils had a golden chance to equalize nine minutes after the restart thanks to a penalty awarded for a foul by Tavares on Matic, but Bruno Fernandes shot the resulting spot-kick against the post.
United didn’t give up and had a first-time attempt from Ronaldo flagged for offside before goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale palmed Dalot’s rasping shot against the post.
However, the Gunners were able to break the tense situation and increased their lead in the final 20 minutes thanks to a thundering bottom-corner finish from Granit Xhaka on the edge of the box.
With nearly ten minutes remaining, Ralf Rangnick made a double attacking substitution in the aim of a comeback, with Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford filling in.
There was no late drama from the Red Devils as the Gunners stormed to victory, damaging United’s hopes of finishing in the top four.