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Premier League: Arsenal overcome Liverpool for 3-2 win, back at top of the table

Gabriel Martinelli fired the Gunners ahead in the opening minute, and it set the tone for a pulsating encounter.

IANS |

Liverpool fought back twice from a goal down but Arsenal rode on a brace by Bukayo Saka to emerge a 3-2 winner in the Premier League and rose back to the top of the table here on Sunday.

Gabriel Martinelli fired the Gunners ahead in the opening minute, and it set the tone for a pulsating encounter.

However, Liverpool struck back through Darwin Nunez midway through the half, but deep into first-half injury-time Bukayo Saka restored Arsenal’s lead after a rapid counter-attack. The teams went in for the breather with Arsenal leading 2-1 at the Emirates.

Liverpool again got back on level terms through frequent nemesis Roberto Firmino, but Saka netted from the penalty spot after Gabriel Jesus was fouled to ensure a huge three points, and send the Gunners back to the Premier League summit.

There were just 58 seconds on the clock when Arsenal broke through. William Saliba won the ball midway inside their own half and sparked a counterattack. The Gunners overloaded Liverpool on the left, Martin Odegaard slipped the ball through to Martinelli and he expertly tucked the ball home, beating the offside trap.

Arsenal kept up the pressure and Granit Xhaka had a shot saved, though he was flagged offside anyway before Martinelli overhit a cross following good work from Bukayo Saka.

At the other end, Aaron Ramsdale was alert to push away a Darwin Nunez drive, then sprung to his left to keep the ball out when Saliba diverted a cross towards his own goal.

But soon Liverpool drew level. Gabriel failed to put in enough on his attempted clearance and the ball fell to Luis Diaz who played it across for Nunez to turn home.

But Arsenal finished half the way they started it. Their second goal came from a Liverpool free-kick, which was cleared to the edge of the box, then launched a rapid attack upfield.

Jesus won the ball and released the scampering Martinelli on the left, his low cross went all the way to the far post where Saka was sliding in to tuck home on the stretch.

Arsenal took the momentum into the second half, and the effervescent Martinelli set up captain Odegaard for a great chance in the box, but his low finish was easy for Alisson in the Liverpool goal.

The Gunners were punished for their wastefulness when substitute Roberto Firmino got behind their defence and found the corner with a good low finish.

Martinelli was the source of much of Arsenal’s attacking play, and his cross led to a goalmouth scramble, where Saka had a shot blocked.

As the ball came back into the area, Thiago mistimed his challenge on Jesus, and the referee awarded a penalty.

Saka stepped up and made no mistake, rifling his shot low into the net to send the Emirates into raptures again.

There were a few nervous moments in the closing ten minutes, but in the end, it was a performance of great maturity and character that extended Arsenal’s 100 percent home record this season, and more importantly, took the Gunners back to the top of Premier League table.

Arsenal now have 24 points from nine points and overtook Manchester City (23) again after a 24-hour break. Liverpool remained in 10th place with 10 points from 8 matches after suffering their fourth defeat of the season.

In other matches, Crystal Palace defeated Leeds United 2-1 while West Ham United defeated Fulham 3-1.