WTTGT Writer: Tashan Deniran-Alleyne
ARSENAL 1-2 MANCHESTER UNITED
Manchester United inflicted Arsenal’s second home defeat of the season, as goals from Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck left the gunners facing an uphill task to qualify for next seasons UEFA Champions League.
Arsenal welcomed back Thomas Vermaelen who replaced Ignasi Miquel at left back and there was also a first league start for youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The teenager was lively in the opening minutes, with his direct running causing problems for United’s defence. But the visitors then started to apply pressure of their own forcing a number of corners and Ryan Giggs got in behind the Arsenal defence but failed to pick out a teammate. Chamberlain showed neat footwork to outfox Patrice Evra down the right and feed Walcott whose effort was well wide.
Wojciech Szczesny pulled of a sharp save at his near post to deny Nani as United carved Arsenal apart down the left. As the hosts continued to drop deep the visitors began to take control of the game and another chance fell to the Red Devils down the left when Nani dispossessed Johan Djourou but the Portuguese winger elected to shoot when he had teammates in better positions.
With the first half approaching its end, Manchester United took the lead as they exploited Arsenal’s weakness down the left once more as Giggs was allowed time and space to pick out Antonio Valencia to head his side into the lead at half-time.
The gunners made a change at the start on the second half with youngster Nico Yennaris replacing Djourou who was run ragged by Nani.
Robin van Persie wasted a glorious chance to equalise when Tomas Rosicky capitalised on a slip from Chris Smalling to pick out the Dutchman, who from close range somehow failed to hit the target. Aaron Ramsey and Chamberlain both went close to an equaliser, with the latter seeing his shot creep just past the post.
Per Mertesacker was on hand to clear of the line after Welbeck had gotten the better of the German defender. The equaliser did arrive after Laurent Koscielny won the ball in his penalty area and launched an attack with Chamberlain feeding van Persie who stroked the ball into the opposite corner to make amends for his earlier miss.
Arsene Wenger took off Chamberlain for Andrei Arshavin which was met by a chorus of boos from the home crowd. With ten minutes to go the visitors re-took the lead as Valencia shrugged off the challenge from the Russian to square for Welbeck who slammed home.
Even with five minutes of injury time Arsenal failed to muster any clear cut opportunities as they fell to their third consecutive league defeat.
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