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Analysis: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Arsenal

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport

Arsenal gave themselves the perfect platform for Sunday’s colossal clash with Premier League leaders Liverpool at Emirates Stadium with a hard-fought victory at Nottingham Forest.

Defeat would have been unthinkable at The City Ground, where a 1-0 reverse last season ended their title ambitions and ensured Forest’s safety.

This time the roles were reversed as Arsenal ran out 2-1 winners, an outcome more comfortable than the scoreline suggests, to put themselves just two points behind Liverpool before they face Chelsea at Anfield on Wednesday.

Arsenal had to show patience, but also up the tempo and show greater urgency, after a lackadaisical first 45 minutes in which Forest’s blanket defence kept them at bay.

It all turned in the second half when Gabriel Jesus’s shot slipped through Forest keeper Matt Turner’s legs before Bukayo Saka drilled home a second.

Arsenal saw out a late Forest rally after Taiwo Awoniyi scored, but this was a fully deserved victory and further builds confidence after the 5-0 home win against Crystal recently.

Now for Liverpool – a meeting that will shape the next stage of Arsenal’s Premier League title pursuit. This was a hugely important three points in a potentially hazardous fixture

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