Friday, June 2, 2023

EPL: Arsenal title hopes crushed after defeat by Brighton

The flickering embers of Arsenal’s Premier League title dream were all but extinguished as they suffered a 3-0 home drubbing by Europe-chasing Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.
With relentless Manchester City winning at Everton in the earlier kickoff to move four points clear, long-time league leaders Arsenal knew only a victory would suffice.
But they produced a laboured display against the crafty south coast club and were outplayed after the break as Julio Enciso, Deniz Undav and Pervis Estupinan all scored for Roberto De Zerbi’s side who moved up to sixth place.
Arsenal’s former Brighton forward Leandro Trossard struck the crossbar in the first half, but Arsenal looked deflated after Enciso struck in the 51st minute and crestfallen when Undav lobbed over Aaron Ramsdale in the 86th minute.
A fifth league defeat of the season left Arsenal on 81 points with two games remaining to City’s 85 with three left and victory for Pep Guardiola’s side next Sunday against Chelsea would wrap up City’s fifth title in six seasons. They could secure it before that though if Arsenal lose against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Brighton have 58 points with four games still remaining.
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard drilled a shot just wide and Bukayo Saka did the same in first-half stoppage time but Brighton hogged possession and were always a threat with Enciso twice having a clear sight of goal.
The home fans tried to galvanise their team but the mood fell flat six minutes after the interval as Brighton attacked down the left and after his initial cross was blocked, Estupinan lifted a ball into the area for Enciso to head in. Arsenal never looked convincing as they tried to respond and shot themselves in the foot when Ramsdale passed the ball out to Trossard and his flick rebounded back towards goal and Undav had all the time in the world to dink a lob into the net.
With Arsenal in tatters, Estupinan then put the icing on Brighton’s cake, steering in a rebound after Ramsdale had parried Undav’s powerful shot.

Manchester City two wins away from crown after 3-0 win over Everton

Captain Ilkay Gundogan scored a brace and set up one more as Manchester City despatched relegation-threatened Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park in the Premier League fixture, here on Sunday.
With this win, Pep Guardiola’s side moved four points clear of second-placed Arsenal and a step closer to a seventh Premier League title.
The three points put City in pole position to retain the league title, with two more wins from their remaining three matches set to be enough to seal the crown. After winning the league in 2020/21 and 2021/22, City needed a maximum of six points from their remaining games against Chelsea, Brighton and Brentford to become just the second club in the Premier League era to lift the trophy in three consecutive campaigns.
Gundogan, on his 300th City appearance, opened the scoring with a beautiful flicked finish in the 36th minute before providing for Erling Haaland to head home his 52nd goal of the season just two minutes later.
He added his second and City’s third shortly after half-time with a perfectly executed free-kick.
Gundogan, who was named Player of the Match after an influential display, scored a superbly improvised first goal, with his second coming from a direct free-kick curled into the top corner. The victory extended City’s winning run in the Premier League to 11 matches and their unbeaten streak across all competitions to 22 games. The loss for Everton left them looking nervously over their shoulders with two games remaining, hovering just one point above the relegation zone.


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