Gunners up to fourth after brushing aside United
Manchester United 0
Arsenal made a big statement in the race for the top-four this afternoon, with a 2-0 win against Manchester United at the Emirates.
Goals from Granit Xhaka and a second-half penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed a superb weekend for the Gunners, who also benefitted from Tottenham and Chelsea dropping points in the race for the Champions League places.
Arsenal started the better of the two, and in the first five minutes had chances through Sead Kolasinac and Aubameyang.
United looked lethargic and were slow out of the blocks and they were duly punished on 11 minutes, when Xhaka’s left footed shot from 25 yards swerved from right to left, deceiving David De Gea in the United goal.
United had their own chances in the first half, and twice hit the woodwork – first through Romelu Lukaku’s header, which thundered back off the bar, and then from Fred’s 25-yard shot.
But Arsenal are a far more solid side under Unai Emery – indeed they were 12 points better off than this time last season going into this game, and they look strongest at the back when Laurent Koscielny is accompanied by Sokratis.
On the odd occasion when United did break through the Arsenal defence, they found Berndt Leno in inspired form, and he made superb saves, twice from Lukaku and once from Marcus Rashford.
The killer second goal came from the penalty spot after Lacazette had been tripped by Fred.
Aubameyang showed immense courage to step up and slot straight down the middle after his last-minute miss against Spurs last week. De Gea was furious with himself that he didn’t just stand still.
So a great weekend for the Gunners, who move up to fourth position, above United and now only one point behind Spurs, who travel to Liverpool in their next game.
Arsenal: Leno, Sokratis (Yellow, 37), Koscielny, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac (Yellow, 89), Ozil (Iwobi, 76), Lacazette (Nketiah, 85), Aubameyang (Suarez, 80)
Subs: Cech, Elneny, Iwobi, Mustafi, Suarez, Guendouzi, Nketiah
Man Utd: De Gea, Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Dalot (Martial, 70), Fred, Matic (Yellow, 67, Matic, 80), Shaw, Pogba (Yellow, 75), Lukaku, Rashford
Subs: Bailly, Martial, Pereira, Rojo, Romero, McTominay, Greenwood
Referee: John Moss