The last time Man United and Arsenal met in The Premier League it was a day Arsene Wenger would sooner forget. Man United stormed to an amazing 8-2 victory at Old Tafford. Today at The Emirates Sir Alex Ferguson was expecting a closer game. Arsenal have made a decent recovery in recent weeks spearheaded by influential marksman Robin Van Persie however they were coming off the back of a surprise loss to Premiership newcomers Swansea. Man United wanted to keep within striking distance of their local rivals City who earlier in the day had pulled off a late win against Spurs.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first Premier League start for Arsenal and impressed early on driving forward at the United defense. In the 14th minute Phil Jones twisted on his ankle while trying to prevent Theo Walcott from getting down the wing, Arsenal were unable to take advantage and the incident resulted in Jones being stretchered off. With Vidic and Ferdinand already on the United injured list this was not good news for Ferguson.On the half hour mark United began to push Arsenal back up the field and their pressure nearly told in the 34th minute when Patrice Evra teed up Nani whose shot was well saved by Szczesny at the near post. United did eventually break the deadlock just before half time. Giggs received the ball wide on the left wing and was given the time and space to put in an expertly floated cross. Antonio Valencia made a good run towards the back post and headed past a helpless Szczesny. It remained that way til half time.
Wenger decided to make a change at half time bringing on youngster Nico Yennaris for Djourou. Arsenals best opportunity came in the 51st minute. Chris Smalling slipped and presented the ball to Rosicky who made good run into the penalty box and passed to Van Persie who blasted the ball wide. Arsenal were now kicking into gear and putting the pressure back onto United as Ramsey shot over from close range. Danny Welbeck may have thought himself unlucky not to have a goal or a penalty on 64 minutes as he tangled with Mertesacker but stayed on his feet and slotted the ball past Szczensy only to have his shot cleared by Mertesacker. Arsenal leveled the game on 71 minutes when Van Persies cross goal shot found the bottom corner of the net after Oxlade-Chamberlain had played him through with a superb pass. Wenger decided that the youngster had done enough and replaced him Arshavin to the sound of boo's ringing around the stadium. There was concern for Wenger when Theo Walcott collided with United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard and did not get up. It appeared that Walcott smacked his head off the ground and may have been temporarily unconscious. Walcott recovered and resumed play only to see United take the lead once again. Valencia received the ball wide on the right wing and dribbled the ball into the box playing a give and go with Park before finding Wellbeck who finished calmly. Arsenal could not get back on terms and the final whistle was met with an almost stunned silence. Those fans calling for Wengers dismissal will be critical of his decision to take off Oxlade-Chamberlain who was playing well. Man united will be happy to have got the win and not allow Man City anymore breathing space at the top of the league.
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