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Premier League: Gabriel fires, Arsenal cross bridge

Gabriel’s second-half goal was enough to keep Mikel Arteta’s team top of the league table
Mohamed Salah.
Mohamed Salah.
File picture

AP/PTI, Reuters   |   London   |   Published 07.11.22, 04:41 AM

Arsenal’s surprising title challenge in the Premier League shows no signs of slowing down.

If anything, a 1-0 win at Chelsea on Sunday only underlined that this  Arsenal team may be the strongest in years.

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Gabriel’s second-half goal was enough to keep Mikel Arteta’s team top of the league table after a performance that was more dominant than the scoreline might suggest.

The Brazilian centre-back was on hand to steer in a corner from Bukayo Saka in the 63rd minute at Stamford Bridge against a toothless Chelsea side.

“From the start to the end, we deserved to win,”  Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka said. “We were the much, much, much better team today (Sunday). We are so happy that everything is going well at the moment.”

Really well, in fact. This was  Arsenal’s 11th win in 13 league matches and lifts the Gunners back atop the standings, two points ahead of Manchester City, who had taken the overnight lead with a last-gasp win against Fulham on Saturday.

It also sends an even stronger message to City that Arsenal are likely to be their main challengers for the title this season after adding this result to previous victories against Liverpool and Tottenham.

For Chelsea, though, it was another disappointing performance that will add to pressure on manager Graham Potter, especially coming off a 4-1 loss at his former club Brighton last week.

Arsenal were in control for most of the game and could already have been ahead by the break had Gabriel Jesus not extended his goal drought to a ninth straight game in all competitions by spurning the best chance of the first half by heading wide from close range.

Chelsea, meanwhile, rarely threatened even after falling behind — although a driving rain that fell for the last 20 minutes turned the end of the game into more of a slog.

Former  Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, facing the Gunners for the first time since leaving the club for Barcelona in January, was kept quiet until he was taken off just after the opening goal.

Arsenal were on the front foot for most of an up-tempo first half, but couldn’t force a save from Chelsea goalkeeper Eduoard Mendy.

Jesus spurned the best chance in the 29th when he couldn’t connect with a cross from Martinelli, glancing a header well wide. Chelsea rarely threatened until Kai Havertz ran onto a ball in the area in the 34th but could only force a routine save from Aaron Ramsdale.

In the end, it was a defender who broke the deadlock. Saka’s corner evaded a host of players as it bounced in the area before it was turned into the top of the net by Gabriel.

Salah strikes

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah cleverly fashioned one goal and was gifted another in the first half as the visitors claimed a 2-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur. Egyptian Salah opened the scoring after 11 minutes when he expertly controlled a pass from Darwin Nunez inside the area, turned and fired a low shot into the corner with his left foot.

His second goal five minutes before half-time was a gift from Eric Dier who miscued a header from a kick downfield by Alisson and the Egyptian ran clear and dinked the ball past Hugo Lloris.

The hosts had their moments with Ivan Perisic hitting the woodwork in each half and they could have had a penalty when Ryan Sessegnon was bundled over by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

After the break, Spurs raised their game, boosted by Dejan Kulusevski returning from injury off the bench. He had an almost instant impact as he fed Harry Kane who scored in the 70th.

United trounced

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery tasted victory in his first game in charge as his side beat Manchester United 3-1, the visitors’ first defeat in 10 matches in all competitions.

Former Arsenal boss Emery was given a warm welcome by home supporters ahead of the match, and he could not have wished for a better start to life back in the league as Villa raced into a two-goal lead inside 11 minutes.

Leon Bailey arrowed a strike into the bottom corner to give Villa the lead, before Lucas Digne curled a sublime free-kick past the despairing dive of United goalkeeper David de Gea.

United improved a great deal as the half wore on, creating several openings beforeLuke Shaw’s strike took a huge deflection off Jacob Ramsey and found the net on the cusp of half-time to give the visitors hope.

Those hopes were quickly dashed, however, as Ramsey made amends, finding the top corner four minutes into the second half to restore Villa’stwo-goal advantage.

Tempers flared as the match reached its climax, but United could not muster a comeback, losing for the first time at Villa Park in the league since 1995.

It was a run of 23 games that United had gone unbeaten at Villa Park — the longest undefeated away run a team has had against another in English league history.



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