Red Devils reap rewards with Arsenal
Written By: Robert Halter
Remembrance Sunday offered a game to remember as table toppers Arsenal arrived at Old Trafford with a staggering eight point advantage over eighth placed Manchester United before the start of play as the Red Devils’ Robin Van Persie locked horns with his former Gunners once again, having scored twice against them last season, once at home and then a penalty at the Emirates Stadium but this term Van Persie looked to improve on his return of six league goals which had been matched by Arsenal’s in form Aaron Ramsey but the Gunners had not won at United since 2006 and lost their four most recent visits. A deflected strike by Wayne Rooney gave Wojciech Szczesny a comfortable save on nine minutes, after Shinji Kagawa had supplied the pass. On twenty seven minutes, Van Persie was back to haunt his old club with a bullet header into the roof of the net, off a high corner from Wayne Rooney which was measured to perfection. It took until thirty three minutes for a Gunners goal threat as Olivier Giroud headed over a cross from Ramsey. Szczesny later required lengthy treatment after clashing heads with Phil Jones. The Red Devils captain, Nemanja Vidic left the field at the end of first half play, after colliding into his own keeper, David De Gea, and Vidic was replaced by Tom Cleverley at half time. Two minutes into the restart, Gunners captain, Thomas Vermaelen, squandered a free kick, after Giroud had been shoved to the floor by Cleverley. In the fifty seventh minute, Bacary Sagna’s well positioned cross found Mesut Ozil unmarked but Ozil cannoned his shot into the outside netting by the near post. Two minutes later, Rooney could have sealed the Gunners fate but with the goal at his mercy, he turned the ball wide of the right post. Arsenal then made a change by replacing Mathieu Flamini for Jack Wilshere. With a quarter of an hour of normal time remaining, Kieran Gibbs tried a low long range strike which was clutched to safety by De Gea, before Man U switched Kagawa for Ryan Giggs and Arsenal decided to take off Santi Cazorla for Nicklas Bendtner. On eighty minutes, Wilshere made a needless foul on Patrice Evra and the floating free kick from Van Persie just eluded the advancing Chris Smalling. In the final Gunners substitution, Serge Gnabry took over from Mikel Arteta but when Giroud’s strike drifted wide in the dying moments, time was running out for Arsenal. As Van Persie made way for Marouane Fellaini, he got a hero’s send off from the United faithful. At the end, a Sagna cross failed to find Giroud and Bendtner at the far post, and the Gunners had been condemned to a defeat as Van Persie’s goal had put the Red Devils back in the tile race by closing the gap on Arsenal to five points as United moved up to fifth place in the Premiership.