Arsenal beat Leeds to inch closer to a Champions League return

The Champions League is preparing to welcome back Arsenal after a five-season absence.

Mikel Arteta side are close to sealing fourth place and a return to Europe’s elite competition after a 2-1 victory over Leeds on Sunday pulled them four points clear of Tottenham with three games to go.

Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu in action against Leeds at the Emirates on Sunday.Credit:AP

The first of those is at Tottenham on Thursday and a victory in the north London derby would clinch fourth place.

It was Eddie Nketiah’s double in the opening 10 minutes that ultimately secured the win over Leeds, which saw captain Luke Ayling sent off in the 27th minute for a two-footed challenge on Gabriel Martinelli. Diego Llorente’s second-half goal for Leeds couldn’t spark a comeback.

Arsenal qualified for the Champions League for 19 consecutive seasons under Arsene Wenger before two years of failing to do so led to the manager’s departure in 2018.

Losing at Arsenal sent Leeds into the drop zone alongside relegated Watford and Norwich, while Everton jumped out of the bottom three with a 2-1 win at Leicester.

Mason Holgate’s header clinched the win for Everton on the half-hour after Vitalii Mykolenko’s volley had been cancelled out by Leicester forward Patson Daka. Jordan Pickford’s saves for Everton made sure of the three points in the second half.

The sign of a happy man: Frank Lampard’s Everton have inched further away from the danger zone.Credit:AP

Frank Lampard’s Everton have the advantage of having three games remaining while Burnley and Leeds, who are a point below them, have one match fewer.

Manchester United’s worst-ever Premier League season – typified by a 4-0 collapse at Brighton on Saturday – has given West Ham hope of dislodging the fallen giants from fifth place.

A 4-0 victory over last-place Norwich kept West Ham in seventh place – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but David Moyes’ side is only three points from sixth place with two games remaining and one in hand on United in the final Europa League spot.

Said Benrahma’s double, a Michail Antonio strike and Manuel Lanzini’s second-half penalty secured the emphatic win for West Ham, who were denied a place in this season’s Europa League final by Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

AP

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