LONDON: Arsenal showed no sign of feeling the pressure in their bid for a first Premier League title since 2004 as they strolled to a 3-0 victory at Fulham on Sunday (Mar 12) to answer chasing Manchester City’s win 24 hours earlier.
Unlike a week ago when the Gunners required a winner in the seventh minute of stoppage time to beat Bournemouth, the points were in the bag by halftime at Craven Cottage with Gabriel, Gabriel Martinelli and captain Martin Odegaard all on target.
Third-placed Manchester United had Casemiro sent off in the first half of their 0-0 draw at home to bottom club Southampton.
Newcastle United gained a first win in six league games to rekindle their push for Champions League qualification – Miguel Almiron’s late goal earning a 2-1 home victory over struggling Wolverhampton Wanderers to move above Liverpool into fifth.
West Ham United moved out of the relegation zone on goal difference as they drew 1-1 at home to Aston Villa.
Arsenal restored their five-point advantage and could go eight clear before the looming international break when they host Crystal Palace next weekend while Manchester City are involved in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
The Gunners’ comfortable win at Fulham means they are the first side in English Football League history to win five consecutive London derbies away from home without conceding.
“Really happy. It’s a really tough place to come, they’re a really well organised team and I think we dominated the game, we created lots of chances, we kept a clean sheet and we won the game in a convincing way,” manager Mikel Arteta said.
Arsenal’s cause was given a further boost as forward Gabriel Jesus came off the bench for his first appearance since being injured playing for Brazil at the World Cup in December.
“It’s a massive boost. He’s been out for a while now. We know what he’ll give to the team. We’re excited to have him back,” captain Odegaard said.
A week after losing 7-0 to Liverpool, Manchester United at least kept a clean sheet although it was a day of frustration against a battling Southampton side at Old Trafford.
The biggest talking point was Casemiro’s dismissal in the 34th minute for a high boot against Carlos Alcaraz – an initial yellow card being upgraded to a straight red.
“It’s going to be tough, he’s a big player. We will miss him for four games but we have a big squad. We have players coming from the bench who do well. We will keep working hard,” United keeper David De Gea said.
United reached 50 points but are 16 behind Arsenal.
Newcastle got their top-four challenge back on track with substitute Almiron coming off the bench to seal the points against Wolves with his 11th league goal of the campaign.
Alexander Isak had given the hosts the lead from Kieran Trippier’s cross but Wolves levelled when a Trippier slip allowed Hwang Hee-chan to score in the 70th minute.
Newcastle have 44 points from 25 games, four points behind Tottenham Hotspur who beat Nottingham Forest on Saturday although they have two games in hand of the Londoners.
Liverpool, stunned by Bournemouth on Saturday, have 42.
West Ham conceded early against Aston Villa for whom Ollie Watkins was on target but they responded to claim a point thanks to a Said Benrahma penalty.
Despite the point, West Ham manager David Moyes said it was a missed opportunity. “Just a bit more quality at the death might have just got us something more,” he told reporters.