Gunners' Champions League hopes go boom Xhaka Saka | latest news from nigerian newspapers today

Gunners’ Champions League hopes go boom Xhaka Saka

Seeking a surefire UEFA Champions League (UCL) qualification via the much-loved fourth spot, Arsenal stormed to their first home win in three matches with a 3-1 victory over Manchester United, condemning the ‘Red Devils’ to a fourth consecutive away defeat in the top-flight for the first time since 1981.

Two minutes and fourteen seconds is all it took for the hosts to get their noses in front. Bukayo Saka made the most of a defensive mishap, forcing David de Gea into a wonderful save, only to then see new signing Nuno Tavares pounce on the rebound to net his first goal for the ‘Gunners’. The visitors came agonisingly close to an equaliser midway through the half when Diogo Dalot struck a thunderous long-range effort right into the woodwork, before drama dawned upon the Emirates Stadium.

Gunners' Champions League hopes go boom Xhaka Saka | latest news from nigerian newspapers today
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Eddie Nketiah thought he had doubled his side’s lead with a point-blank shot, only to be flagged offside by VAR. However, the review did point out an earlier foul on Saka in the box, who then stepped up to clinically slot home his penalty in the 32nd minute. Arsenal’s lead was cut short just two minutes later though, when the poacher in Cristiano Ronaldo came alive with a timely finish after Nemanja Matić’s terrific cross found him loitering in the box, marking his 100th Premier League goal.

The ‘Red Devils’ blew away an amazing opportunity to level scores ten minutes after the restart, as Tavares gave away a penalty, reacting to which Bruno Fernandes struck the left post from 12-yards. Left standing as a spectator for the penalty, Aaron Ramsdale then pulled out a brace of superb saves – first from Anthony Elanga’s sublime strike directed towards the bottom left corner, before Dalot forced him to parry a shot onto the right post. Much to the dismay of chances missed earlier, Ralf Rangnick’s men were handed their third blow of the afternoon just before the final quarter-hour arrived, thanks to Granit Xhaka unleashing an unstoppable effort from distance and leaving the visitors shaking their heads in disbelief.

Having arrived into the clash on the back of contrasting midweek results at Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, both teams knew very well that only a victory here would hand either one of them a straightforward chance at reaching the UCL. Mikel Arteta’s men are now in pole position to grab fourth spot.

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