Arsenal extends tittle hopes, beats Man United with lone goal at Old Trafford

Arsenal have rarely been accused of winning ugly, but they will gladly take the allegation after a 1-0 triumph over Manchester United that matched the nasty description – and then some.

Mikel Arteta’s side was scrappy and far from their flowing best against a horribly awful United, but three points meant everything to them.

This eyesore of a game was settled by Leandro Trossard’s 20th-minute swoop at the near post after Casemiro fell asleep – not literally of course – in unforgivable fashion to play Kai Havertz onside.

Casemiro, a sad and fading shadow of the great player who bestrode Real Madrid’s midfield through their Champions League glories, simply strolled out.

Havertz initially looked well offside until a glance revealed the dawdling veteran playing him on, leaving Trossard the grateful beneficiary.

Manchester City still hold the cards, with the destiny of the title in their own hands.

But if Tottenham can somehow do north London rivals Arsenal a favour against Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions on Tuesday then that first Premier League title in 20 years will come within touching distance.

City have only won once in six visits to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. These are the sort of statistics Arsenal will be poring over as they search every avenue for hope.

If Arsenal are indeed looking for fate to play a hand, this was a day when even the gods were on the Gunners’ side after Manchester was hit by a huge late storm that left the playing surface waterlogged – and surely unplayable – 30 minutes after the final whistle.

The end came just in time – no-one was raining on this Arsenal parade.

The closing phase of a tense encounter lacking in quality was played out under leaden skies amid stifling humidity – thunder and lightning flashing around Old Trafford while rain battered down on a roof that has been known to spring a few leaks in the past.

It did not matter a jot to Arsenal’s players, fans or management when referee Paul Tierney sounded the final whistle after six minutes of added time.

Arteta’s trademark black sweater and trousers were drenched by the deluge, but the manager was past caring.

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