Arsenal continued its march towards the first title since 2004 when it accepted the gift of its direct chaser Manchester City, the defending champion, who struggled in front of its guest Everton 1-1, by defeating its host Brighton 4-2 on Saturday in the eighteenth stage of the English Football League.
It is the fifth successive victory for the London team, the ninth in its last ten matches in which it did not taste the taste of defeat, and the fourteenth this season, so it strengthened its position in the lead with 43 points, widening the difference to seven points against Manchester City.
The Gunners are awaiting a series of strong matches in the coming weeks, as they will host Newcastle III next Tuesday, visit their neighbor Tottenham V on January 15, and host Manchester United on the 22nd of it, then visit Everton on the fourth of February, before playing two matches at home. In front of Brentford and Manchester City on the 11th and 15th of it.
And Arsenal, seeking the fourteenth title in its history, first scored, specifically after 66 seconds, through its promising wing, Bukayo Saka, when he took advantage of a rebound from a defender after a Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli shot inside the area, so he prepared it for himself from close range and followed it with his left into the goal (2).
It was Saka’s sixth goal this season and Arsenal’s fastest in the league since May 2013 when Theo Walcott gave him the lead against Queens Park Rangers after just 20 seconds.
The Norwegian captain, Martin Odegaard, added the second goal, taking advantage of a rebound from the defense 27 minutes after a corner kick, and he hit it with his left hand from inside the area into the goal (39), raising his score to 7 goals in the league.
Arsenal dealt the final blow to its host at the beginning of the second half, when Eddie Nikitiah took advantage of a rebound from Spanish goalkeeper Robert Sanchez after a powerful shot by Martinelli, and he followed it into the goal (47).
The Japanese Kaoru Mituma narrowed the difference with a shot from inside the area to the left of Ramsdale (65), but Martinelli restored it to its previous state by scoring the fourth goal after a ball behind the defense from Odegaard, so he penetrated into the area and hit it with his right into the goal (71).
Irishman Evan Ferguson narrowed the gap again, taking advantage of a fatal mistake by French defender William Saliba, so he continued the ball into the goal (77).
Spanish coach Pep Guardiola’s men missed a victory within reach and paid dearly for the opportunities they took turns wasting, especially in the first half in which they contented themselves with one goal before conceding the equalizer in the second half.
City advanced with a goal to its star and scorer and the Norwegian international Premier League, Erling Haaland, after a wonderful individual effort by the Algerian international, Riyad Mahrez, inside the region, where he manipulated Ukrainian defender Vitaly Mikolenko and striker Demarai Gray and passed a ball on a plate of gold to Haaland, who followed it with his right into goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (24), raising His tally to 21 goals in the league this season.
And Everton succeeded in equalizing when Senegalese international Idrissa Gana Guy cut a ball from Spaniard Rodri in the middle of the field and passed it to Gray, who quickly set off and penetrated into the area and searched for a pass to one of his colleagues, but decided to shoot it powerfully and wonderfully into the far left corner of the Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson (64). .
And there was a golden opportunity for Mahrez to give City the lead when a ball was set up in front of him after he kicked it in front of the goal, and he hit it powerfully from close range, and Pickford pushed it away before the defense dispersed it (83).
Guardiola was late in making substitutions and waited for the 87th minute to push the Argentine trio Julian Alvares, Phil Foden and German Ilkay Gundogan in place of Portuguese Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish and Rico Luis (87) to no avail.
Pickford continued his brilliance and blocked a powerful shot by Belgian Kevin De Bruyne (90 + 5).
Newcastle was no better than Manchester City and fell into a goalless draw against its guest, Leeds, and its successive victories stopped at six.
International striker Marcus Rashford, excluded from the starting line-up for Manchester United for reasons of “internal discipline”, saved the “Red Devils” when he came on as a substitute in the second half and scored the winning goal at Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0.
Rashford, 25, received an exclusionary penalty from his Dutch coach, Eric Ten Hag, who unusually indicated before the match that his striker would not start it for “violating our internal rules,” without giving further details.
And replaced Rashford, who also scored in the previous two matches for the Red Devils and three goals for his country in the World Cup in Qatar, the young Argentine Alejandro Garnacho (18 years), who scored the winning goal for his team in the last match before the World Cup against Fulham (2-1) on November 13.
But Rashford replaced the unfortunate Garnacho, between halftime, and made the difference in the 76th minute after a take-and-go pass with Portuguese Bruno Fernandes, so he went out and scored from inside the area his eleventh goal this season in various competitions.
With its third successive victory in the league and the fifth in various competitions, United raised its score to 32 points from 16 matches and rose to fourth place temporarily, two points behind Tottenham, who hosts Aston Villa on Sunday at the end of the stage.
On the other hand, Wolverhampton remained in the relegation zone after the Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui suffered its first loss in three matches since his arrival in place of the Portuguese dismissal Bruno Lagi.
The players observed a minute of silence before the match, in honor of the departure of Brazilian football legend Pele, Thursday, at the age of 82. United’s Brazilian international winger Anthony lifted his shirt to show a personal message to the former three-times world champion.
Bournemouth lost to Crystal Palace with two clean goals scored by Ghanaian Jordan Ayew (19) and Iberici Eze (36), while Fulham beat Southampton with two goals from James Ward-Prowse (32 mistakes in his team’s goal) and Brazilian Balenia (88) against a goal by Ward-Prowse (56). .
Tomorrow, Nottingham Forest will also play with Chelsea.