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Relentless Arsenal march to take another big step towards title in throwback win over Manchester United

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The place finally exploded three times in a matter of minutes.

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First, in the 90th minute when Eddie Neketia volleyed the ball home.

Then again a nervous VAR check confirmed the goal, which means Arsenal are five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

Oleksandr Zinchenko, who was excellent in the second half, summed up the mood as he turned and shouted at the home fans.

Then came the full-time whistle and exactly the kind of post-victory celebration you’d expect, which could be huge in the context of a title race.

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Mikel Arteta and his coaching staff broke into a group hug, with Zinchenko simply collapsing to the floor (probably partly due to cramps). In the stands, there were organs everywhere.

You can hardly blame Arsenal fans. The Gunners have now reached the halfway point of their season, five points clear of City with one game in hand.

It was a great, thrilling game and a return to the old matches between these two great rivals.

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Sometimes it was more like a basketball match and until death, it was impossible to choose a winner.

Both sides took the lead, but neither held it for long. Marcus Rashford’s opener was canceled out by Nketiah. Lisandro Martínez then equalized six minutes later before Bukayo Saka thought he had scored the winner in the second half. In the end, Nketiah took that honor.

Bukayo Saka was brilliant for Arsenal

, Getty Images

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Arsenal finished on the front foot, pushing for a winner, and so did they, pressing United up the pitch.

However, it was the visitors who took the lead as Rashford capitalized on some sloppy play by Thomas Partey.

First, the midfielder fumbled the ball away and then Rashford skinned him with a beautiful skill before firing past Aaron Ramsdale from outside the box.

It was a goal that scored half of Arsenal’s total. He was only a yard off the pace and had an unusual looseness about his passing.

On the few occasions he clicked, the Gunners took full advantage of equalizing midway through the first half.

United failed to clear a corner and Aaron Wan-Bissaka was caught sleeping at the back post as Nketiah snapped to head home ahead of him.

If Erik ten Haag was disappointed with the defense of that goal, he might have few complaints about Arsenal’s second eight minutes after the break.

Saka stood up to Christian Eriksen on the edge of the box, using yards of space to find the bottom corner with an excellent finish.

Eddie Neketia scored the winning goal in the 90th minute

, AFP via Getty Images

The momentum of this game was fully felt with Arsenal but they were undone by an individual error after a moment of quality.

Ramsdale came up to claim a corner but fumbled the ball and Martínez was able to loft a header into the net.

That goal meant the game was, seemingly impossible, as it entered the final 30 minutes. The stage was set for someone to be the hero.

Rashford and Saka, the two heroes of the match, looked the most likely candidates and the latter again hit the woodwork after cutting in from the right.

In the end, it was Nketiah who rose to the occasion as he flicked Odegaard’s shot off Zinchenko’s cross to score the winner.

An unlikely hero in Arsenal’s unlikely title charge.

(translate to tag) Emirates Stadium (T) Manchester United

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