Taiwo Awoniyi picked the right time to hit top form and his club Nottingham Forest are the main beneficiaries in their fight to survive the drop.
The Super Eagles striker scored his fifth goal from three games when his 19th minute strike killed all hope of Arsenal having a second chance to revive their chase for the English Premier League title. Manchester City can celebrate and thank Awoniyi; they are now officially champions elect no matter the outcome of their game against Chelsea Sunday at the Etihad Stadium, they are in frame to win their third consecutive title.
Arsenal’s normally brilliant midfielder Martin Odegaard made a rare mistake to give possession to Morgan Gibbs-White who drove forward before finding Awoniyi to poke the ball home and spark wild scenes.
Backed by noisy Forests fans, Steve Cooper’s men held on stubbornly to their lead as Arsenal failed to break down their spirited defending. Eight points clear at the top just two months ago, Mikel Arteta’s team have had a dismal end to the season.
By contrast to the visitors’ despondency, Forest were celebrating a remarkable survival after reaching 37 points to guarantee safety from relegation back to the second-tier Championship where they escaped a year ago.
The result put Arsenal second on 81 points with one game remaining, while Manchester City have 85 points and three matches left starting at home to Chelsea on Sunday. Forest are 16th and six points clear of the bottom three.