Arsenal secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday evening, narrowing the gap at the Premier League summit.
For 64 solid, albeit insufferable minutes, Nottingham Forest defended stoutly against the mighty Arsenal. However, The Gunners once again relied on their efficiency from dead balls to save them. A clever throw-in (exploiting Matt Turner’s welcoming stance) resulted in Gabriel Jesus’ opener. Seven minutes later, Bukayo Saka doubled the visitors’ lead.
Taiwo Awoniyi reduced the deficit, creating a tense stoppage time, but the visitors managed to preserve their slender advantage, moving two points behind the league-leading Liverpool.
After witnessing Nottingham Forest concede eight goals in his initial four league games in charge, Nuno Espirito Santo directed his team to prioritize tightening up defensively. In the first half, Forest’s defensive stance was remarkably deep, with the home center-backs contending for space with the first row of the Trent End.
Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest: Raya can’t seem to keep a clean sheet!
Despite completing over 100 passes inside the final third before Forest’s second, Arsenal struggled to create clear goal-scoring opportunities. Oleksandr Zinchenko’s hopeful delivery into the crowded penalty box resulted in Bukayo Saka’s attempt narrowly missing Forest’s goal.
The breakthrough for Arsenal came in the 57th minute when Martin Odegaard and Saka combined to set up Gabriel Jesus, whose shot hit the post. With three-quarters of the match impeccably navigated, Forest’s tight defensive block was breached when Jesus capitalized on a momentary lapse of concentration, scoring a goal that ricocheted kindly into the net.
As Forest slightly loosened their defensive structure, Arsenal seized the opportunity to counter. In the 72nd minute, a rapid break initiated by Gonzalo Montiel’s hurried clearance saw Saka find the bottom corner, extending Arsenal’s lead.
While much of the pre-game focus centered on Emile Smith Rowe’s return to Arsenal’s starting XI, Forest welcomed back a more critical figure. Taiwo Awoniyi, entering the game at halftime, showcased his agility and aerial prowess, immediately impacting the match.
Awoniyi bullied Arsenal’s William Saliba before scoring for Forest in the 89th minute, narrowing the deficit. In stoppage time, Awoniyi had another opportunity, but Arsenal’s goalkeeper David Raya made a crucial save, securing the win for the visitors.