Nottingham Forest defeated Arsenal at the City Ground today in a result that had huge implications at both ends of the Premier League table.
It was a relatively quiet first half, with few chances of note. Despite this, the hosts went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
Morgan Gibbs-White pounced on a loose pass by Martin Odegaard, drove forward and slipped a through ball to Taiwo Awoniyi.
Gabriel nicked the ball ahead of the Nigerian, but his attempted clearance bounced off Awoniyi’s right foot and past the onrushing Aaron Ramsdale for the opener.
Down the other end, the Gunners weren’t able to create much. Gabriel Jesus and Leandro Trossard both missed the target from Bukayo Saka corners, but there was little else to report.
Early in the second half, both goalkeepers were called into action. Felipe saw his shot turned wide from Renan Lodi’s deflected cross, and Keylor Navas was at his best to deny Saka at his near post.
The visitors piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser but struggled to break down a resolute Forest backline.
Steve Cooper’s side threatened on the counter-attack, with Gibbs-White and Lodi both missing the target from inside the box.
Heading towards the final whistle, Gibbs-White came close to scoring one of the finest goals of the season. The England youth international embarked on a brilliant solo run, but his finish was too close to Ramsdale.
Forest withstood the final wave of Arsenal pressure to hold out for victory. The three points secured their place in the Premier League for next season.
As for the Gunners, their defeat ends their title hopes. Manchester City will celebrate their third crown in a row when they face Chelsea tomorrow.
Man of the Match – Joe Worrall
There were countless Forest players who could have been selected for this accolade. Every single one of their defenders put in an inspired display, while the likes of Awoniyi and Gibbs-White caused endless problems for Arsenal’s backline.
We’ve gone for Joe Worrall as our standout. The 26-year-old has spent his entire senior career at the Reds, and he continues to be a key player for them. Tonight, he let nothing past him, making a number of vital blocks and clearances while keeping Jesus quiet.
Lacklustre Arsenal let it slip again
Man City have won their last 11 league games. They just swept Real Madrid aside in the Champions League like they were a Sunday League team and are hot favourites for the treble.
They have a number of the best players in the world, coached by one of the most decorated managers of all time. There’s no shame in finishing second to them.
However, the manner of Arsenal’s capitulation can’t be ignored. The last six weeks have been nothing short of catastrophic from Mikel Arteta’s side.
When they travelled to Anfield, the title was still in their hands. And when they went 2-0 up, they seemed on course to keep it that way. However, they allowed Liverpool to come back and claim a point.
The following week, they let another two-goal lead slip, this time against West Ham United. In the same game, Saka had an opportunity to make it 3-1 in the second half but placed his penalty wide of the post.
They followed up with a 3-3 draw at home to Southampton. This time, they were the ones to come from two goals down, but it was still two points dropped rather than one gained.
Then they travelled to the Etihad Stadium, knowing that a win would swing the title race back in their favour. Not only were they beaten, but they were thoroughly outplayed, losing 4-1.
After stopping the rot with impressive back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Newcastle United, Arsenal looked like they might be able to at least push the Cityzens down to the wire.
But that hard work was undone by a dismal display at home to Brighton and Hove Albion, where they were defeated 3-0.
And now, the final nail has been put in the coffin, with a 1-0 loss to another relegation struggler.
Arsenal have made plenty of progress this season, and they can be optimistic ahead of next year. However, it’s a shame to see them end with such a whimper.