ARSENAL 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 0
Premier League | 7 May 2017 | Emirates Stadium | Attendance: 60,055 | Scorers: Xhaka 54min, Welbeck 57min.
Manchester United endured a disappointing day in North London as Arsenal inflicted the club’s first Premier League defeat since October.
Two second-half goals in quick succession proved decisive for the Gunners as Granit Xhaka and former United striker Danny Welbeck got on the scoresheet.
Possession: Arsenal 49% United 51%
Shots at goal: Arsenal 5 United 4
Shots on target: Arsenal 2 United 2
Corners: Arsenal 5 United 5
On 54 minutes, Xhaka opened the scoring from 25 yards as his effort took a fortuitous deflection off the back of Ander Herrera, allowing it to loop over De Gea at full stretch.
Before United could get themselves back into the game, a deep right-wing cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain picked out Welbeck between two defenders and the former Reds striker headed home.
Arsenal held firm for the victory to leave the United very much focused on the Europa League and Thursday’s semi-final second leg against Celta Vigo at Old Trafford.
Possession: Arsenal 50% United 50%
Shots at goal: Arsenal 9 United 9
Shots on target: Arsenal 4 United 3
Corners: Arsenal 5 United 8
Arsenal: Cech, Holding, Koscielny, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Bellerin 84), Ramsey, Xhaka (Coquelin 76), Gibbs, Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck (Giroud 84).
Subs not used: Ospina, Gabriel, Iwobi, Walcott.
United: De Gea; Tuanzebe, Smalling, Jones, Darmian; Carrick, Herrera (Rashford 63); Rooney (c), Mata (McTominay 85), Mkhitaryan (Lingard 61), Martial.
Subs not used: Romero, Bailly, Blind, Pogba.
After almost 13 years, Arsene Wenger finally got the better of Jose Mourinho in the Premier League after Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger had endured countless frustration in his previous battles with his Portuguese nemesis, but goals from Granit Xhaka and former United striker Danny Welbeck ended his hoodoo against Mourinho.
In 12 previous Premier League games against Mourinho the Arsenal boss had been unable to mastermind a victory, suffering five defeats and picking up seven draws.
The closest Wenger had previously come to beating Mourinho was in December 2006 when Michael Essien scored an 84th minute equaliser for Chelsea in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho also inflicted a 6-0 mauling on Wenger during his second spell as Chelsea manager in March 2014 before he took over as United boss in the summer of 2016.
As the match wore on, Xhaka’s deflected strike on 54 minutes broke the deadlock and, just three minutes later, the unmarked Welbeck headed home to give Wenger a much-deserved victory.
In addition to getting one over Mourinho for the first time, Wenger’s victory also brought to an abrupt ended United’s 25-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.
Arsenal Beat United To Maintain Top-Four Hopes
Arsenal kept their slim hopes of a top-four finish alive with a comfortable win over a much-changed Manchester United side at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in a first league win for Arsene Wenger over Jose Mourinho.
The game began at pace and United were first to show when, only two minutes in, Juan Mata crossed and Wayne Rooney drifted away from his marker but steered a header over.
Within three minutes, Kiran Gibbs got down the left for the hosts and Welbeck’s attempt to control saw the ball fall to Sanchez, who got past a defender and had his effort stopped by David De Gea.
Back came United, and Rooney slid a ball through to Anthony Martial, whose strike was turned behind by Petr Cech — and before 10 minutes had been played there was another opening as Aaron Ramsey shot low and De Gea made an outstanding save.
As the quarter of an hour mark approached, Danny Welbeck almost got through for Arsenal but was denied by Ander Herrera after he had drifted away from Phil Jones and cut into the area.
But United were beginning to enjoy more of the possession and, with 21 minutes gone, a deep Mata free kick to the far post was headed on by Henrikh Mkhitaryan only to elude his teammates.
Mata was involved in another opening, getting away down the right but crossing too close to Cech as Mkhitaryan waited unmarked in the middle.
Then Welbeck had an effort on the turn blocked by Jones six yards out after chaos from an Arsenal corner, and on the half-hour Chris Smalling made a crucial intervention at the near post after Ramsey had got away and crossed low.
Arsenal kept pressing, and after some fine footwork by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had bought him space on the edge of the area his shot drew another good stop from De Gea.
But United should have led on 32 minutes when Rob Holding’s dangerous pass back into his own area was seized upon by Rooney as Laurent Koscielny hesitated, only for Cech to block.
The second half started in sleepy fashion, with youngster Axel Tuanzebe called into its first piece of action as he fended off a raid from Sanchez down the Arsenal left.
But after 54 minutes the home side broke through when Granit Xhaka picked up possession 30 yards out and his shot took a big deflection off Herrera and looped over De Gea.
And three minutes later the lead was doubled as Welbeck struck against his old club, heading home a pinpoint Oxlade-Chamberlain cross.
Mourinho reacted to the double strike with a double change, taking off Mkhitaryan and replacing him with Jesse Lingard and, moments later, introducing Marcus Rashford for Herrera.
Rooney forced Cech into action with a curling free kick from 25 yards after 65 minutes, but United were doing little to worry Arsenal as Wenger’s side sat comfortably on their lead.
Ramsey won the ball back deep in United territory as the Gunners looked to add a third, but when he laid it back to Sanchez the cross was blocked.
Ozil crossed from the left but just ahead of the waiting Welbeck before Rooney shot wide as United laboured in vain for a way back into the match.
Xhaka was replaced by Francis Coquelin for Arsenal and Rooney shot over again when he had both time and space on the edge of the box.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was replaced by Hector Bellerin and Olivier Giroud came on for Welbeck as the home side made a pair of changes, while Scott McTominay made his senior United debut when he came on for Mata.
WE DESERVED MORE FROM ARSENAL GAME – MOURINHO
Jose Mourinho had two lengthy unbeaten runs brought to an end on Sunday as Manchester United lost for the first time in the Premier League since October.
The boss seemed to be in a philosophical mood however as he gave post-match interviews to Sky Sports and MUTV. Here’s what Mourinho had to say:
PLEASED WITH THE PERFORMANCE
“I am disappointed with the result but not the performance, at all. I liked very, very much the individual performances and I also liked them collectively. We lost because we didn’t score and we had great chances to score before them. They had the luck of that goal, and we didn’t score before them. Just that. Apart from that, I cannot demand more from players that didn’t play one minute of football in the last seven weeks. We didn’t deserve to lose. It was an incredible deflection [for the first goal by Granit Xhaka]. It was a long-distance shot, not even a short-distance shot. Then the ball made a very strange flight but that’s football. Arsenal were not better than us in my opinion. They scored, they won. Congratulations.”
IMPRESSED BY RETURNING REDS
“I think [Phil] Jones, [Chris] Smalling, [Juan] Mata, they were amazing in the way they performed. They showed amazing effort and attitude after seven weeks without playing football due to important injuries. The kid [Axel Tuanzebe] was the same. I think he did an amazing job and I think Alexis [Sanchez] knows his name because the kid played very well. There were also great contributions by people like [Matteo] Darmian, [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan and [Ander] Herrera who played last Thursday. Wayne [Rooney] was amazing, [Michael] Carrick was giving experience and [Anthony] Martial gave great effort and had a quality game. Other players were trying to do everything. It was difficult for me to manage the game because in the end the players I wanted to replace were players that in principle will start the game on Thursday. It was difficult to manage it but I think the team was good, was organised, tried to win, played to win, defended well.”
FEARS GOING INTO THE GAME
“I feared that the players could not play for 90 minutes. I feared that my changes – instead of being to change Herrera and Mkhitaryan, players who played 90 minutes in Vigo, I feared that I would have to change Mata, Jones and Smalling. But they were fantastic. I think this game is a plus for them, to play 90 minutes is fantastic because now we have three Premier League games to play plus the semi-final and let’s hope we have one more game to play. We need everybody and these 90 minutes are fantastic for them and is good for the team. We have such a small squad at the moment, it’s so good that these guys have a fantastic answer.”
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HOPES NOW RESTING ON EUROPA LEAGUE
“I think with the last result against Swansea and the defeat today we have to be pragmatic and see it is difficult [to finish in the top four]. But we have a competition which is the second biggest competition in Europe and we are almost there so the players want, I want, and I think a club like us would always prefer to go into Champions League by winning a trophy than by finishing fourth. What’s the difference between finishing fourth and fifth? The difference is just the Champions League so you go with everything in the Europa League. We have a big match on Thursday and at least I could give to many of my players a rest and to give them the conditions to be at the top level on Thursday. You can tell me we didn’t play with the best team or all the players that are my first choice at the moment. But you cannot say that we did not try to win the game and that’s what we are going to try to do in the remaining three matches in the Premier League. But obviously everything is on Thursday.”
Up Man U!