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SOCCER

Arsenal dent Manchester United’s top-four hopes

Arsenal practically ended Manchester United’s hopes of a top-four finish after beating the visitors 3-1 at the Emirates. Cristiano pulled one back for Rangnick´s side and Bruno Fernandes missed a penalty.

Update:
Reuters/Paul Childs
PAUL CHILDSAction Images via Reuters

Arsenal dealt a blow to Manchester United’s hopes of finishing in the top four of the Premier League and automatically qualifying for next year’s Champions League by beating them 3-1 at the Emirates on Saturday. Nuno Tavares, Bukayo Saka and Granit Xhaka supplied the goals for Mikel Arteta’s team in a lively contest in which VAR chalked a goal off for United, Bruno Fernandes missed a penalty and the hosts had one awarded during an offside check.

Arsenal enjoyed a dream start and were ahead before the third minute when Tavares tapped home after David de Gea palmed a Saka effort directly into his path. United found themselves further behind on the half-hour following a bizarre VAR check. Eddie Nketiah had the ball in the back of the net but the move was reviewed as the Arsenal player looked fractionally offside. VAR ruled the goal out but a subsequent check showed that Saka had been shoved by Alex Telles and referee Craig Pawson pointed to the spot. Saka strode up to double the lead from the spot.

Cristiano Ronaldo points to the sky in remembrance of his son after scoring their first goal REUTERS/David Klein
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Cristiano Ronaldo points to the sky in remembrance of his son after scoring their first goal REUTERS/David Klein DAVID KLEINREUTERS

Cristiano reaches three figures

United had looked sluggish and downbeat up until the Gunners’ second goal but were back in the game soon after when Cristiano Ronaldo tucked in a Nemanja Matic centre on 36 minutes to bring up his 100th Premier League goal. It came after a traumatic week for the Portuguese star and his family following the death of one of his newborn twin babies. He celebrated by pointing to the heavens. In a show of support, Arsenal fans gave the United number seven a long round of applause in the seventh minute, as Liverpool fans had done in their midweek fixture at Anfield.

United perked up in the second half and had the chance to pull level after a penalty was awarded for handball on 56 minutes. Bruno Fernandes’ effort however bounced back off the post. Just minutes later, Xhaka finished off an attacking move with a thunderbolt strike that flew past De Gea´s outstretched hand and inside the post. It summed up a frustrating day for United, who also had a Cristiano Ronaldo goal ruled out for offside.

Victory puts Arsenal fourth on 60 points - three points clear of Spurs who face Brentford in the late game Saturday. United meanwhile are sixth on 54 points having played more than all of the other teams in the top six.

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