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Arsenal given Premier League title boost but Bruno Fernandes goal hands warning to Mikel Arteta

Football.London

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Bruno Fernandes’ strike in the 78th minute of Manchester City‘s clash against Manchester United caused significant controversy with Marcus Rashford’s role in the goal heavily questioned. Pep Guardiola’s side complained to referee Martin Atkinson but the goal stood and Rashford then went on to score the winning goal, diverting home Alejandro Garnacho’s cross.

City had dominated much of the second half with substitute Jack Grealish heading home a Kevin De Bruyne cross to put the visitors in front, but out of nowhere, United were level. A ball behind the City defence aimed for Rashford by Casemiro was instead swooped home by Fernandes, but Rashford, who was in a clear offside position appeared to shield the ball thus allowing his team-mate a free run at goal.

The win for United has major implications on the title race. For the team on the receiving end of the defeat it is a major blow, while for Arsenal it is a significant boost and the three points gained in the table for United has also pushed them into the title conversation.

READ MORE:Arsenal dealt huge Premier League title boost after what happened during Man Utd vs Man City

At the very start of January, Guardiola admitted his team would have to be “almost perfect” to catch Arsenal and at one of the first hurdles his team have suffered a significant setback.

He said: “If they [Arsenal] continue in that way, we will not catch them. We have to be almost perfect from here and hope they drop their performance – yesterday they were excellent against Newcastle – and see what happens.”

While that title claim from Guardiola is somewhat accurate his latest claim on the race for England’s greatest prize is quite outlandish. Speaking to BT Sport after the game, he said: “I don’t care about the Premier League and the Carabao Cup, we cannot win so it’s not a problem.”

The Spaniard’s post-match interview was understandably rather brief following a damaging loss as he remained on the fence when delivering his verdict on Fernandes’ goal. “Rashford was offside, Bruno Fernandes no. Intervenes, Rashford, or not, distract our ‘keeper and our central defenders, I don’t know what is the rule but I know where we play.”

The pundits’ panel for BT Sport also discussed the decision with Rio Ferdinand debunking the idea that the goal was given because of where the game was being played.

“You’ve got to put yourself in the position to get decisions and make yourself a dangerous team at times,” he said. “I thought we didn’t do that as much as we would’ve liked here at Old Trafford, but when we did we were clinical.

“People will say because it’s Old Trafford certain decisions have gone that way but over the course of a season it all weighs itself out.”

The final part of Ferdinand’s claim could serve as a warning to Arteta that there will be decisions that do not go the way of the Gunners. The former Arsenal captain will probably already feel as though that is the case, with the decisions in the game against Newcastle causing a lot of controversies.

Over a 38-game season the best team will top the league, but it would also be naïve to say that luck isn’t needed and soon Arsenal may face one of those scenarios going against them.

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