Nottingham Forest 1 – 0 Arsenal
Nottingham Forest 1 – 0 Arsenal. Nottingham Forest beat Arsenal at the City Ground to secure their Premier League survival and crown Manchester City as champions.
Taiwo Awoniyi’s 19th-minute goal was enough to seal victory and spark jubilant scenes from the home supporters at the final whistle.
Arsenal dominated possession but Mikel Arteta’s men could not find a way through Forest’s spirited defence in order to force City to win a fifth title in six years themselves.
Not that Forest and their noisy supporters were bothered about Pep Guardiola and his team.
After what must have seemed like an age as he paced up and down his technical area, waiting for seven minutes of injury time to pass and the loss of goalkeeper Keylor Navas in the very last seconds, Forest boss Steve Cooper was able to celebrate survival.
In the stand above, owner Evangelos Marinakis was also hugged by those around him, having been rewarded for keeping faith with Cooper during a tumultuous campaign.
Awoniyi only scored four times in his first 23 Premier League games after joining Forest from Union Berlin – but now has five in his past three.
And, like the former Liverpool striker, Morgan Gibbs-White’s form has also shown a major upturn over the past few weeks and it was little surprise the pair combined to put Forest ahead.
There was an element of fortune given Gabriel slid in to reach Gibbs-White’s angled pass into the penalty area first.
But given the battling qualities they have shown in their survival fight and the phenomenal support they have received from the stands, Forest deserved the fortune that saw the ball strike Awoniyi, then rise above Aaron Ramsdale, who was diving to smother, and into the net.
Forest did have other chances and Gibbs-White should have doubled their lead near the end when he found himself one on one with the Arsenal keeper.
However, showing the fighting spirit that has served them so well and backed by fans who have remained loyal to Cooper all season – probably saving the Welshman at some points – Forest’s determination ensured they did not their lead slip.
It would be grossly unfair to say Arsenal did not deserve something from this game.
They dominated possession for long periods and only some diligent Forest defending kept them at arms’ length.
But the clinical edge of their early season performances has deserted them just as City have hit top gear.
In contrast to the first half of the campaign, when they only dropped seven points, Arsenal have collected just nine points from their past eight games.
Following on from the home defeat by Brighton, Arteta’s men have now lost consecutive league games for the first time this season.
Gabriel Jesus had a couple of early chances, Bukayo Saka brought a decent second-half save out of Navas and from the corner that followed Jorginho’s shot was deflected over.
But a cutting edge was missing and there was a resignation about the outcome long before the final whistle blew on the Gunners’ title challenge.
source – BBC