Home » EPL, Featured, Latest » Match Report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2

Manchester’s football dominance of London was further confirmed at the Emirates this afternoon. With City having earlier defeated Tottenham, United responded with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal which suggests that whoever wins the battle for supremacy in the North West will also take the Premier League title.

United’s victory was secured with goals from Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck, but came at a cost. Phil Jones had to be stretchered off after only 17 minutes with an ankle injury, leaving Manchester United – and England – to anxiously await further assessment in the coming days amid fears of ligament damage.

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain selected in place of Andrei Arshavin and interchanging effectively with Theo Walcott on the flanks, Arsenal had actually made the marginally better start. Their best first-half opportunity, though, was shot wastefully over by Walcott after Oxlade-Chamberlain had skilfully evaded Patrice Evra.

Arsenal’s initial flurry was followed by a sustained period of Manchester United pressure. With Arsenal’s four senior full-backs all injured, Sir Alex Ferguson had clearly set up his team to exploit the wide positions. Nani and Evra, in particular, were causing serious problems to Johan Djourou down Arsenal’s right.

Nani forced an excellent near-post save from Wojciech Szczesny after Evra had evaded Djourou. Nani and Ryan Giggs also wasted further inviting positions before United scored the goal their first-half pressure had merited.

Predictably, it came from Arsenal’s right, with Giggs drifting into his old position wide on the left and floating a perfectly weighted cross to the far post. Valencia had reacted quickest to the situation, sprinting inside Thomas Vermaelen to head past Szczesny.

Arsene Wenger reacted at half-time to Djourou’s dreadful performance by replacing him with Nico Yennaris, an 18-year-old product of the Arsenal academy. Arsenal also emerged with far more urgency in their attacking play.

Tomas Rosicky pounced on a mistake by Chris Smalling and, when he cleverly squared the ball for Robin van Persie, a goal looked certain.

Van Persie, though, blazed his shot wide of Anders Lindegaard’s right-hand post.

Ramsey, Rosikcy and Oxlade-Chamberlain all also then went close. At the other end, Per Mertesacker lost Welbeck but recovered sufficiently to make a goal-line clearance. Arsenal, though, had merited an equaliser and, when it arrived, there was little surprise that Oxlade-Chamberlain should play a decisive role. His reserve pass split Manchester United’s defence, with Van Persie then brilliantly finishing past Lindegaard.

The momentum that Arsenal had established was lost, however, when Wenger inexplicably opted to replace Oxlade-Chamberlain with Arshavin.

The decision was greeted with loud booing from the Arsenal fans and even a look of astonishment from Van Persie. Arshavin was then partly culpable for United’s winner. Arsenal’s club record signing was beaten down the right by Valencia, whose pass was emphatically finished by Welbeck. As United held firm amid late Arsenal pressure, the match ended with open shouts of dissent towards Wenger and Arshavin from the home supporters.

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