Arsenal Cruise Past Luton 2-0 To Return To Summit


(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Arsenal coasted to a 2-0 win over struggling Luton on Wednesday to dislodge Liverpool from the top of the Premier League table, once again edging ahead in a thrilling three-way title tussle.
Gunners captain Martin Odegaard opened the scoring midway through the first half and an own goal just before the break gave the home side a cushion.
The result lifts Arsenal to 68 points – one ahead of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, who host Sheffield United today. Defending champions Manchester City, playing fourth-placed Aston Villa late last night, started the evening in third place, a point behind Arsenal.
Mikel Arteta's men dominated possession in the opening stages at the Emirates but created few clear-cut openings in front of an expectant crowd. But they broke the deadlock in the 24th minute, courtesy of a sweet left-footed strike by Odegaard.
Emile Smith-Rowe, a peripheral figure this season, stole possession and fed Odegaard, who played a one-two with Kai Havertz before stroking the ball home. Arsenal doubled their lead in the 44th minute thanks to an own goal from Luton defender Daiki Hashioka, who turned into his own net following more good work down the left by Smith-Rowe.
The home side, playing in second gear, had just three shots on target in the first half but were well worth their lead. The bulk of the second half was largely flat, although Luton came into the game more, probing for an opening to haul themselves back into the contest.
Arteta brought on midfielder Declan Rice and forward Eddie Nketiah, adding Gabriel Martinelli with 15 minutes to play. Arsenal substitute Takehiro Tomiyasu went close, bending one just wide, and Nketiah forced a save from the scrambling Thomas Kaminski in the closing minutes. They were unable to score a third but saw the game out with few alarms.
The Gunners, who have not been crowned English champions since 2004, set the pace for the bulk of last season before flagging as the finishing line approached. But, adding steel to their style, they have now won nine of their past 10 league games, with the only blip in that sequence a goalless draw against City on Sunday.
Arsenal, who have conceded just four goals in the league in 2024, travel to Brighton on Saturday before hosting Villa on April 14. Defeat for depleted Luton leaves Rob Edwards' side third from bottom of the English top flight, three points from safety, and facing an immediate return to the Championship.
Brentford and Brighton play out stalemate
Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion played out a dull 0-0 draw in in west London, a game of few clear-cut chances despite the attacking quality on both sides.
It was the first 0-0 draw for Brentford since a stalemate with Leeds United in January last year and moves them six points clear of the relegation zone.
Brighton stay in ninth with 43 points from 30 games, unable to make up significant ground in the race for European places next
season.
There was a rare event on the stroke of halftime when Video Assistant Referee Michael Oliver suggested referee Andy Madley check for a possible penalty for Brighton as Lewis Dunk and Yoanne Wissa tussled in the Brentford box at a corner.
It has become almost the norm for the referee to rubber-stamp the view of the VAR but Madley correctly decided the first infringement had been made by Dunk as he manhandled Wissa and a free kick was given instead.

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