Arsenal close in on leaders Liverpool with win at Forest

January 31, 2024 8:57 am

[Source: Reuters]

Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus scored and set up a goal for Bukayo Saka seven minutes later to lead Arsenal to a 2-1 Premier League win over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Tuesday that moved the north London side to within two points of leaders Liverpool.

Mikel Arteta’s team, who won their second consecutive match after going three games without a win, climbed above Manchester City into second place with 46 points after 22 games.

Liverpool play their game in hand against mid-table Chelsea at Anfield on Wednesday when champions City, who have 43 points from 20 matches, host lowly Burnley.

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“We have to do what we have to do,” Arteta told BeIN Sports. “Perform the way that we were doing last year and start of this year, because performances were there, results not. Results are going our way now. We have some momentum, let’s go for it.”

Forest’s relegation fears grew with Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in 16th with 20 points, two points above the drop zone.

Arsenal dominated possession but struggled to threaten before Jesus broke the deadlock in the 65th minute. Forest were lackadaisical at a throw-in and the ball fell to Jesus who fired through goalkeeper Matt Turner’s legs from a very tight angle.

“(Arteta said at halftime) to keep trying and in the first half we did good,” Jesus told TNT Sports.

“We were there and controlled the game, but the best way to control them is to keep the ball in the third part of the pitch. We did well in the first half but we didn’t score.

“Second half we scored so we controlled more of the game.”

Arteta revealed that Jesus had fought hard to be fit for the game after struggling with fluid on his knee.

“When someone has the desire with the ability he has, good things are going to happen,” said the Spaniard.

The Gunners doubled their lead in the 72nd minute when Gonzalo Montiel gave the ball away near the halfway line and Forest were caught on the break. Jesus played a ball to Saka who shot across goal and while Turner got a hand on the ball he could not keep it out.

Forest substitute Taiwo Awoniyi pulled one back to energise the crowd in the 89th, prodding home through a crowd of players, and then David Raya made a terrific save for Arsenal in the final minutes to secure the win in front of a crowd that included Arsenal great Robert Pires.

Arsenal had 19 shots to the home team’s nine, while both sides had three efforts on target.