Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi scored the only goal of the game to hand Nottingham Forest a 1-0 win over title pretenders Arsenal and ensure Premier League safety for his side.
Awoniyi, 25, latched onto Morgan Gibbs-White’s through pass after a quick break to finish beyond the Arsenal duo of centre back Gabriel Magalhães and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
Awoniyi’s effort was Nottingham Forest’s first attempt on target in the game which came in the 19th minute after a spell of dominance by Arsenal but it was what mattered most in the end as Steven Cooper’s side stay up after a tortuous Premier League campaign.
Saturday’s win takes Nottingham Forest to 37 points from as many Premier League games this season and meant that none of Leicester City and Everton can get to that total in their remaining games of the season with Southampton already confirmed relegated.
JOB. DONE.— Nottingham Forest (@NFFC) May 20, 2023
WE ARE STAYING UP!!! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/8qrHq0i522
Super Eagles striker Awoniyi has been of immense instrument in the run-in for Forest as the big Number 9 contributed five goals in the last three matches during which The Reds amassed seven massive points, a total more than they had garnered in their thirteen previous matches.
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Awoniyi’s goal also took his personally tally to nine Premier League goals in his maiden campaign in England’s topflight – after his move from Germany last summer – despite being troubled by injury during this campaign.
Taiwo Awoniyi has now scored against Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal in his first season in England. Certainly not a bad way to start…— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) May 20, 2023
He missed nine league matches between January and March due to a niggling groin injury but the player who has scored for Nigeria at every level of international football (U17, U20, U23 and senior team) has made a good recovery to help his team stay up.
Awoniyi played for 79 minutes on Saturday before he was replaced by Brennan Johnson to a loud ovation at the City Ground. His international teammate Emmanuel Dennis Bonaventure was an unused substitute in the game.
The defeat of Arsenal also meant that the Gunners will now be mathematically unable to catch Manchester City at the summit of the Premier League table, crowing Pep Guardiola’s men as Champions for a third year in a row and fifth time in the last six years.