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Premier League | Gameweek 22
Jan 30, 2024 at 7.30pm UK
The City Ground
AL

Nott'm Forest
1 - 2
Arsenal

Awoniyi (89')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Jesus (65'), Saka (72')
Jesus (40')

Arsenal ride out nervy finale to overcome Nottingham Forest

:Headline: Arsenal ride out nervy finale to overcome Nottingham Forest:
Arsenal make the most of a Nottingham Forest defensive implosion as they rise to second in the Premier League table with a 2-1 win at the City Ground.
Sports Mole

Arsenal made the most of a Nottingham Forest defensive implosion as they rose to second in the Premier League table with a 2-1 win at the City Ground.

A familiar sense of profligacy haunted Mikel Arteta's men in the first half, but thanks to a pair of individual mistakes, Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka found a way through in the second period, as all of the Tricky Trees' previous diligent defensive work was undone.

A last-gasp Taiwo Awoniyi strike would make the final few moments nervier than they should have been for the North London titans, but Nuno Espirito Santo's side could not complete a remarkable turnaround as Arsenal matched their 2-1 win over the Garibaldi from the opening weekend of the new term.

While Declan Rice and Gabriel Magalhaes were both given the green light to start for Arsenal, the headline news was the inclusion of Emile Smith Rowe in the Gunners' XI, as Kai Havertz ceded his place.

The well-rested visitors were unsurprisingly in the ascendancy from the first whistle, but early chances were at a premium for Arteta's men, whose only chance of note in the opening 20 minutes was a blocked Martin Odegaard attempt in the 13th.

Arteta's men continued to huff and puff but could not penetrate Santo's rigid defensive line, who saw Smith Rowe send a 20-yard curler harmlessly over on the half-hour mark, and the visitors' inexplicable reluctance to shoot was also doing them no favours.

In contrast, Danilo - a former transfer target of Arsenal's - needed no second invitation to let fly from range after skipping past Rice in the 41st minute, but the Brazilian's effort from range was high and not very handsome.

Danilo's countryman Murillo was nearly the unlucky party to help Arsenal break the deadlock in the 44th minute, as a Saka strike took a significant deflection off the centre-back and deceived Matt Turner, but he breathed a sigh of relief as the ball trickled just wide, allowing Forest to enter the interval with their clean sheet intact.

One attacking change was made at half time, although it was of Santo's doing as Awoniyi replaced Chris Wood, and the Nigerian's physical presence opened the game up slightly as Neco Williams directed a header into David Raya's palms in the 52nd minute.

Arsenal would inevitably carve out a few more gilt-edged openings with Forest coming to life, but frustration was still the name of the game for the North London giants; Turner clawed a deflected Saka strike away in the 53rd minute before a slick passing move ended with Jesus rattling the woodwork from close range.

After squandering that golden chance, however, Jesus would ironically propel Arsenal into a belated lead from a more difficult angle in the 65th minute, as after latching onto a quick Oleksandr Zinchenko throw and surging towards the six-yard box, the striker managed to squeeze the ball through the legs of Turner.

The ex-Arsenal goalkeeper certainly did not cover himself in glory at his near post, but while the American goalkeeper was not at fault for Arsenal's deserved second in the 72nd minute, one of his defenders was.

Gonzalo Montiel - whose display had been hitherto flawless - cheaply gave the ball away to Odegaard just inside the Arsenal half, allowing Arteta's men to break at pace, and Saka's right-footed strike across goal nestled into the bottom corner after a slick pass from Jesus.

Leandro Trossard almost put the tie to bed with a brilliant solo effort in the 81st minute, cutting inside and evading Forest legs before getting his shot away, but his powerful drive just missed the top corner and sailed into the Arsenal contingent behind Turner's goal.

There would be a late lifeline for the hosts in the 89th minute, and it was no surprise to see Awoniyi provide it; the ex-Liverpool man bumped William Saliba out of the way to meet Montiel's header, got a lucky break of the ball and fired low past Raya.

The City Ground suddenly sprung into life as injury time approached, and the ball fell kindly for Awoniyi to potentially steal a point for the hosts in the third additional minute, but Raya was equal to his tame volley as Arsenal survived.

By ending their three-game losing run at the City Ground, Arsenal have reduced the gap to leaders Liverpool to just two points - albeit having played a game more than the Reds and two more than Manchester City - while Forest occupy 16th spot, just two points clear of Everton in the drop zone.

Arsenal have four complete days of rest before a tantalising tie with Liverpool at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon, when Forest are also in action against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. body check tags ::

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
2Arsenal38285591296289
3Liverpool382410486414582
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
6Chelsea381891177631463
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
12Bournemouth38139165467-1348
13Fulham38138175561-647
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
15Everton38139164051-1140
16Brentford38109195665-939
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RBurnley3859244178-3724
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916
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