Arsenal end Red Devils revival
Written By: Robert Halter
Arsenal had won just once in their last thirteen Premier League fixtures against Manchester United but the Gunners aimed to end the Red Devils run of four games without a defeat at the Emirates Stadium in a top of the table clash during the early part of October. A late off the ball foul by Matteo Darmian on the Gunners marksman, Theo Walcott, gave the opportunity for Santi Cazolra to swing in a free kick which was punched clear by the United keeper, David De Gea, in the second minute. As Arsenal exerted early pressure in the Man U final third, it provided the platform for the Gunners to open the scoring as Danny Blind gave the ball away to Aaron Ramsey, who supplied Mesut Ozil on the right, before Alexis Sanchez, tucked the ball into the right side of the goal, in the fifth minute. One quickly became two within sixty seconds, when Sanchez interlinked with Ozil, who laid the ball onto Walcott, who weaved his way into the area, before Ozil placed his shot into the left part of the goal, which left the Red Devils looking second best as the pressing game of Arsenal kept them on the back foot through free flowing football. Arsenal were on fire and grabbed a third in spectacular fashion as Ramsey started the move and on the turn Walcott supplied Sanchez, who drifted away from Darmian, before unleashing a dynamic strike which flew past De Gea’s reach before crashing into the top right roof of the net, from outside the box, with the game just twenty minutes old. In the twenty fourth minute, a drive by Cazorla went wide of the left post, after a pass over to him from Sanchez, as the Arsenal dominance continued. It wasn’t until three minutes later that United threatened when Anthony Martial beat off the challenge of Hector Bellerin before the captain in waiting, Per Mertesacker, hooked the ball clear. But again Arsenal were dangerous in the thirty fourth minute, with a perfectly measured cross by Sanchez which picked out Ramsey, who wedged a volley over in front of the target. With five minutes of normal time remaining in the first half, Cazorla combined with Ozil, who paved the way for Walcott on the right, but his tame effort brushed past the face of the goal. On the forty fourth minute, a left footed save by Petr Cech, pushed away a close range strike from Martial, after a delivery on the right from Darmain, for the Red Devils first clear cut opportunity. Before the second half resumed, United replaced Memphis Depay with Marouane Fellaini and Darmian with Antonio Valencia. In the forty ninth minute, Cech clutched hold of Ashley Young’s lofted effort, from a ball across by Juan Mata. The Gunners responded within four minutes, after a careless trip by Michael Carrick on Ramsey and as the ball rebounded off the wall from Ozil’s free kick, his follow up shot deflected narrowly over the left post. On sixty two minutes, Cech was at full stretch to turn behind a low drive from Red Devils captain, Wayne Rooney, after build up play from Fellaini. Five minutes later, Cech made a brave point blank save to fend away the advancing boot of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who had collected a neat touch by Rooney, following an incisive pass by Carrick. On seventy one minutes, as Mata’s strike drifted over the bar from a knock back by Schweinsteiger, United had their best spell of the match but Arsenal reacted within a minute, as a pull back from Nacho Monreal, was met first time by Ozil, but on hand was the reach of De Gea in the centre of the goal. The Gunners then changed Walcott with Olivier Giroud and Ozil with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, before Sanchez left the field for Kieran Gibbs, before United changed Mata with James Wilson. On eighty five minutes, a powder puff shot from Giroud was easily collected by De Gea from a pass by Oxlade-Chamberlain, following a fine run by Cazolra. In the final piece of action, Bellerin’s ball over the top found Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose lob crashed against the upright but it didn’t matter as the Gunners 3-0 victory saw them leap frog the Red Devils into second spot in the table.