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English Premier League

Title race swings again as Arsenal win, Man City slip up

Sports Desk
  19 Feb 2023, 11:35

The English Premier League title race took another twist on Saturday as Arsenal climbed back to the top of the standings with a 4-2 win at Aston Villa while champions Manchester City slipped up by only drawing at Nottingham Forest.

City's win at Arsenal on Wednesday sent them top on goal difference but it was to be a short-lived rise as, despite dominating at Forest, they conceded a late equaliser to draw 1-1.

Pep Guardiola's side now trail Arsenal by two points having also played one game more. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks dejected after the match

Newcastle United's 17-match unbeaten league run came to an end as they lost 2-0 at home to Liverpool, with Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo scoring early for the visitors while keeper Nick Pope was sent off after 22 minutes for Newcastle.

The pressure continues to mount on Chelsea manager Graham Potter as his side lost 1-0 at home to bottom side Southampton.

Chelsea's Conor Gallagher looks dejected after the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Southampton at the Stamford Bridge in London, Britain on 18 February, 2023

Chelsea's Conor Gallagher looks dejected after the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Southampton at the Stamford Bridge in London, Britain on 18 February, 2023Reuters

Everton and Bournemouth also claimed valuable victories in their quest for survival in a tight relegation scrap.

Arsenal reinvigorated their push for a first Premier League title in two decades with two stoppage-time goals giving them a thrilling win at Villa Park.

With a high-quality attacking game going into added time at 2-2, Arsenal midfielder Jorginho saw a looping shot come off the bar and bounce off the head of Villa's Argentina World Cup-winning goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez for a cruel own goal.

Arsenal's Jorginho celebrates their third goal, an own goal scored by Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez

Arsenal's Jorginho celebrates their third goal, an own goal scored by Aston Villa's Emiliano MartinezReuters

Minutes later, with the final whistle about to go and Villa piling forward - Martinez included - Arsenal broke forward again for Gabriel Martinelli to stroke into an empty net for the Londoners' fourth in front of their delirious fans.

It was Arsenal's first win in four Premier League games. "If you want to be at the top, you are going to have to win games in many different ways," coach Mikel Arteta said.

"Credit to the boys. The dressing room was absolutely bouncing. It was a big effort to play less than 72 hours ago after the (City) game that we had, and after the result that we had which obviously morally was touching."

Later on Saturday, City looked set to reclaim top spot against the team they had beaten 6-0 in the reverse fixture when Bernardo Silva gave them a halftime lead.

They should have doubled their advantage midway through the second half but the usually lethal Erling Haaland hit the crossbar from close range before blazing the rebound over.

That miss proved pivotal as, out of nowhere, Forest's January signing Chris Wood tapped home at the far post to level six minutes from time.

"We had amazing chances but it's football. We have to score. We did everything. You have to do it. There were too many clear (chances) to score," coach Pep Guardiola told the BBC.

A trademark James Ward-Prowse free kick earned managerless Southampton a precious three points at Chelsea in a scrappy 1-0 win to pile more pressure on manager Potter.

Chelsea had 17 attempts at goal, five on target, their highest shot tally without scoring at home in the Premier League since May 2021.

Despite spending nearly £300 million ($360 million) in the January transfer window, Chelsea are languishing in 10th place on 31 points from 23 games and are 10 points adrift of the top four.

"Some people will think I'm the problem. I don't think they're right but that doesn't mean they can't articulate their views," Potter, whose side have one only once in their last eight league games, said.

Newcastle had only lost once in the league all season prior to Saturday, that against Liverpool in August, but Klopp's side returned to haunt Eddie Howe's side.

Nunez fired in after 10 minutes from Trent Alexander-Arnold's long pass and Gakpo then made it 2-0 from Mohamed Salah's pass seven minutes later.

Pope was sent off shortly after for deliberately handling the ball outside his area.

Improving Liverpool are now in eighth place but only six points behind fourth-placed Newcastle with a game in hand.

Everton defender Seamus Coleman's goal from the tightest of angles secured a 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Leeds United at Goodison Park and moved them out of the relegation zone.

Bournemouth also moved out of the bottom three to sit level on 21 points with Everton thanks to a second-half strike from Marcus Tavernier to seal a 1-0 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The south-coast club jumped from 19th to 17th, a point above the drop zone, after their first win since the World Cup break.

Elsewhere, Fulham continued their fine season with a 1-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion moving them up to sixth, while Brentford and Crystal Palace drew 1-1.

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