Arsenal end Red Devils run
Written By: Robert Halter
Arsenal attempted to maintain qualification for the Champions League by securing victory against Manchester United, in early March. In the second minute from a Sead Kolasinac cross, it was just out of the reach for the on rushing, Alexandre Lacazette. Then during the fourth minute, through a high ball over from Laurent Koscielny, an attempted over head kick by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, sailed over the crossbar. On eight minutes, Mesut Ozil teed up Aubameyang, but his wayward strike sliced over to the right. Although within a minute, Arsenal had a reprieve, when a Luke Shaw delivery was sent crashing against the crossbar from the right foot of Romelu Lukaku. Arsenal then gained the advantage in the twelfth minute, as after collecting a pass from Lacazette, a low bending curling strike by Granit Xhaka deceived David De Gea, as the bull spun into the left side of the goal from outside the box. In the nineteenth minute, from Paul Pogba’s pull back, Fred struck a low drive past the reach of Bernd Leno, and onto the foot of the right post. Midway through the first half, from a cross by Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the ball was cannoned out of play by Aaron Ramsey. Then in the twenty third minute, following a nod on by Shaw, a strike by Marcus Rashford, flew over to the right. In the twenty eighth minute, Lukaku chipped the ball over to Rashford, but he was obstructed from Sokratis Papastathopoulos, as the ball trickled past the left post. After Maitland-Niles trod on the foot of Shaw, the United left back took the free kick in the thirty first minute, which was headed out by Ozil, before a long range strike by Diogo Dalot, was blazed over. On thirty six minutes, from Rashford’s ball through, as Lukaku tried to turn Leno, the Gunners German keeper got a vital touch with his outstretched hand, to smother the ball to safety. Sokratis soon got cautioned for a high boot on Pogba. Near the end of the half, Xhaka was left in pain after keeping out Rashford, who also required treatment, after the ball had been put into the area by Dalot. It took alert goalkeeping by Leno, to keep out Nemanja’s Matic’s ball through to Lukaku, two minutes into the second half. In the forty ninth mute from Shaw’s assist, a long range shot by Rashford, went high out of play to the right. During the fiftieth minute, after Koscileny first made a strong block to Fred’s effort, the Red Devils pressed again when from Rashford’s through ball, at close range, Lukaku’s strike spun over off the leg of Leno. There was then a brief delay as Koscielny required treatment. It soon followed with another break up in play to allow recovery for Maitland-Niles. After Aubameyang barged over Pogba, a free kick by Rashford in the fifty ninth minute, flashed over to the right. On sixty six minutes, as Ozil dragged the ball back, a low strike from Xhaka, drifted past the right post. But in the next two minutes, referee Jon Moss awarded Arsenal a penalty after Fred pushed over Lacazette in the area. Matic got cautioned for dissent before Aubameyang stepped up to plant the spot kick down the middle of the goal, past a helpless De Gea. The Red Devils then brought on Anthony Martial for Dalot. On seventy one minutes, from a headed pass by Sokratis, the ball went past the head of Victor Lindelof, to find Lacazette, who struck the ball narrowly over to the left. On seventy four minutes, from a short corner with Ozil and Xhaka, it created space for Sokratis, before a clearance was made by Lukaku. The next booking went to Pogba for pulling down Xhaka. Arsenal then withdrew Ozil for Alex Iwobi before also changing Aubameyang with Denis Suarez, while the Red Devils took off Matic for Mason Greenwood, which soon followed with the Gunners replacing Lacazette with Eddie Nketiah. Near the end Kolasinac got cautioned for a foul on Greenwood. In stoppage time from Young’s cross, a header by Rashford was caught by Leno, as Arsenal won 2-0 to go into fourth spot, a place above Manchester United in the table.