It wasn’t quite the performance between these two sides that saw Manchester United thrash Arsenal 8-2, earlier this season, but Danny Welbeck netted a vital late winner to keep the 19 times English champions within touching distance of the league leaders.
Luis Valencia made a telling contribution on the right wing, and later at right full back, against Thomas Vermaelen, who was making a rare appearance on the left for Arsenal.
The Ecuadorian winger scored the game’s opening goal in first half stoppage time when he nodded home at the back post from a fantastic Ryan Giggs cross from the left. A seventh assist of the season from the evergreen Welsh wizard.
Antonio Valencia completed all but one of his 24 pass attempts in this game as well as a game-high 6 successful dribbles (the whole Arsenal team managed 7 combined) during a man of the match performance.
After coming out for the second half a goal down, Arsenal started the second half in the ascendancy. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired an effort narrowly wide before Aaron Ramsey fired over from inside the box.
Arsenal’s best chance of the game following a slip from Chris Smalling. Tomas Rosicky capitalised in taking possession before entering the box, squaring to Robin van Persie who uncharacteristically fired wide when the opportunity looked easier to score.
The Premier League’s top scorer found his shooting boots 20 minutes from time. After Rafael’s run into the box at the other end was ended by a challenge from Laurent Koscielny, Oxlade-Chamberlain slid in van Persie who neatly finished across goal.
Anders Lindegaard had no chance with the goal, but the Dane was only forced into 2 other saves from 14 attempts on goal by the Gunners.
Antonio Valencia was moved back to right back following Rafael’s departure for Park Ji-Sung for the final 15 minutes. 5 minutes later the repositioned full back ran into the area before teeing the ball up for Danny Welbeck who found the back of the net.
Danny Welbeck’s movement during the game was very good. The young English striker had more attempts than any other player in the match, forcing 2 saves from Wojciech Szczesny before netting the winner in the final 10 minutes.
Wayne Rooney had a quiet game for his standards despite having several touches of the ball. The England international failed to have a single shot or create an opportunity for a team mate throughout the full game which he remained on the pitch for.
Despite a slip that he went unpunished for, Chris Smalling was solid at the back today; making a game high 11 headed clearances.
This is the fourth time Manchester United have done the double over Arsenal in Premier League history. All of these have been during Arsene Wenger’s reign.