fbpx Skip to main content

Arsenal opened a “box of dreams” by defeating Manchester United to take the Premier League title race to the final day of the season, according to a relieved Mikel Arteta.

Leandro Trossard’s 20th-minute goal proved enough for a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford but there were several nervy moments for the Gunners in the second half in particular.

The result moved Arsenal back above Manchester City into top spot ahead of their final game at the Emirates against Everton next weekend, but Pep Guardiola’s team have a game in hand.

Arsenal’s players celebrate their victory
Arsenal’s players celebrate their victory (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I’m really, really happy, obviously,” said Arteta. “Everything is at stake, you have no margin for error since January, you have to keep winning and winning and winning.

“Today we have to play at a really special place that our history wasn’t very optimistic about what could happen but we found a way to win it and that says a lot about how much the team wants it.

“You know what the consequences are to a draw. I felt the team in a really good space before the game, we started the game well, we scored the goal, but that goal I think it touched something.

“We started to play too safe. I didn’t like it and we had to change that, and when we wanted to change that we struggled to do it. If you don’t have that element, you have to be extraordinary competing and doing the defensive things right, and I thought on that we were excellent again.”

Leandro Trossard, second right, scored the only goal
Leandro Trossard, second right, scored the only goal (Martin Rickett/PA)

To add extra intrigue, City’s game in hand on Tuesday is against Arsenal’s bitter rivals Tottenham, but Arteta will be extremely proud of his players and staff whatever the outcome of the season.

“My experience in this league the last 20 years is that any team can beat any team,” said the Gunners’ boss. “The honesty and the respect that everybody puts into the games is phenomenal.

“We know we need a result – we need to do our thing still in the last game – but today we really wanted to knock that door and open that box of dreams to live the last day of the season in front of our people with the opportunity to win the Premier League.

“That’s something we’re going to live together and I’m so pleased we’re going to do it with these players and staff. It’s 27 wins in the Premier League, it’s the most in the history of this football club in 130 years. That’s not progress, that’s history.”

Injury-hit United’s only victory in their last eight league games came against bottom side Sheffield United, while they went into this contest on the back of Monday’s 4-0 hammering by Crystal Palace.

This was at least an improvement and boss Erik ten Hag said: “I don’t like reactions, you have to be always there, you have to be always spot on when you are Man United, but, yeah, if it happens, you need a reaction and the players gave the reaction.”

Asked whether looking at the positives from a home defeat showed how low United have sunk, the Dutchman added: “It shouldn’t be like this, you are absolutely right, but then I return to all the problems we have.

“When you analyse the performance, you have to see then that we were competitive. That is not the way we want of course, United have to win every game, but at this moment as a club we are not in this position, and definitely not this team with all the injuries we have.”

United remain three points behind Newcastle and Chelsea in the race for European football and could need to beat City in the FA Cup final to avoid missing out altogether.

“It’s very damaging but that is the situation we are in,” said Ten Hag. “But still we can get there, we have the opportunities, so we have to take the responsibility. We have to fight, even when the problems are massive.”