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Saka star as Arsenal grab eight points | The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

Arsenal are eight points clear of the Premier League leaders as two goals from Saka Bukayo impacted Crystal Palace’s 4-1 defeat on Sunday.

Gabriel Martinelli scored the opening goal in the first half at the Emirates Stadium to put the leaders on track for a sixth consecutive title.

Martinelli made amends after missing a penalty in Arsenal’s Europa League last-16 defeat against Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.

Mikel Arteta’s side swept away the bitterness of the defeat in just 45 minutes in a difficult match against Palace.

Saka followed Martinelli’s goal by doubling Arsenal’s lead before half-time.

Granit Xhaka scored a third after the interval, and Jeff Schrup’s reply was inconsolable as the influential Saka’s second ended Arsenal’s style in style.

Arsenal now have a substantial eight-point lead over second-placed Manchester City, who came off the weekend from Premier League duties to beat Burnley in Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-finals.

With a game against Arsenal looming and a decisive clash with the Gunners on 26 April, the champions from Pep Guardiola believe they can clinch their fifth title in six seasons.

However, heading into the international break, Arsenal ensured that the fate of the title race was in their hands in the final ten games.

“I’m really happy with our reaction after the Sporting game. We showed a lot of determination,” said Arteta.

“I feel really good, especially considering the way I’ve played and the results I’ve gotten.

“I’m impressed with the desire and energy. They need to come back from the international break with the same mindset as before.”

Arteta gave special praise to Saka for becoming the first player to score 10 goals or 10 assists in the Premier League this season.

“The whole team did really well, but Bukayo was really good today and his contribution impacted the result,” he said.

“That’s what we need. We need the guys up front to fire and make a difference, and they did it today.”

After surrendering top spot to City in February, Arsenal have responded impressively, showing a level of maturity and poise far beyond the Gunners’ side, who have consistently underperformed in recent years. .

Arteta deserves huge credit for transforming a team that blew out the top four last season.

Less than a year later, Arsenal, the first English team to win nine London derbies in a single season, look crowned champions.

Arteta has positioned the match against Palace as the most important game of his coaching career and his players once again faced the challenge.

They had an ideal opponent for a Palace team that has been reeling from 13 wins in 2023 and sacking boss Patrick Vieira on Friday.

Vieira was a key member of Arsenal, who won their last title 19 years ago, and Gunners fans chanted his name throughout the game.

rampant arsenal

Arsenal made a breakthrough in the 28th minute when Saka wriggled freely in the penalty area to collect a pass from Ben White and pulled a cross back to Martinelli.

The Brazilian forward made a clever touch past Joel Ward and then thrashed Joe Whitworth from 12 yards to score his sixth goal in his final eight games.

Saka confirmed that Arsenal’s relentless pressure paid off again in the 43rd minute.

He returned the ball to White and his return pass was fully weighted by the English forward, scoring a cool finish into the far corner from close range.

Arsenal were on fire and Xhaka had an unquestionable result in the 55th minute.

A gorgeous exchange of passes took place around the Palace area, leaving visitors puzzled before Xhaka added a deft finishing touch to Leandro Trossar’s through ball.

Schrupp stabbed Palace’s first league goal in almost seven hours after Arsenal failed to clear a 63rd-minute corner kick.

But Saka had the last word with his 13th goal of the season and a superb first finish from Kieran Tierney’s pass in the 74th minute.

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