United keep up pressure on City with win at Arsenal

Arsenal 1 Manchester United 2

Manchester United kept within touching distance of the top of the Barclays Premier League thanks to Danny Welbeck's late winner at Arsenal.

United knew they needed a win to keep close to leaders Manchester City and they looked on course for victory when Antonio Valencia nodded home Ryan Giggs' cross.

Arsenal rallied in the second half and pulled one back through Robin van Persie, but their hopes of a point were dashed nine minutes from the end when Welbeck steered Valencia's cross home from close range.

The game was not a patch on City's 3-2 win over Tottenham in terms of entertainment and quality, but Sir Alex Ferguson will be happy to have ground out another win which further proves he still has the know-how to formulate a title challenging team at the grand old age of 70.

In reality, though, Arsenal made their task much easier thanks to an abject first-half defensive display from the Gunners' makeshift back four.

Despite the thrilling nature of the encounter between Tottenham and City - the two newest entrants in to the title race - earlier today, Arsenal v Manchester United has proved to be a humdinger of a game in Premier League history.

Pizza-throwing tunnel clashes, touchline spats and on-field rucks have taken place in recent encounters and today's match had even more added spice as the Gunners were out for revenge after their 8-2 humiliation at Old Trafford.

Both managers had predicted a cagey encounter on this occasion, however, and the first 10 minutes suggested they were right to do so.

Jonny Evans cleared an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cross and Anders Lindegaard easily gathered a shot from Aaron Ramsey.

Theo Walcott embarrassed Phil Jones with his quick feet, causing the defender to trip up and hit the deck and he had to come off for Rafael after just 15 minutes.

Per Mertesacker and Johan Djourou cleared dangerous United crosses and Valencia just failed to tap home a flick-on.

Giggs tested Wojciech Szczesny at his near post from a tight angle.

Oxlade-Chamberlain bamboozled Patrice Evra to sneak in to the United box and laid off to Walcott, but he blazed over from 18 yards.

Evra then easily beat Alex Song down the left and crossed for Nani but Szczesny saved.

Giggs played Wayne Rooney into the box and the striker went down after appearing to have his arm pulled by Song but Mike Dean waved play on.

The ability of United's wingers to skip past makeshift full-backs Vermaelen and Djourou was a particular source of frustration for the home support.

Nani easily beat the Swiss and whistled a sharp ball across the box.

In the opening minute of first half injury time Giggs was given space down the left flank and he floated a cross over to the back post where Valencia beat Vermaelen in the air to nod home.

Arsenal went off at half-time to a chorus of boos and Wenger, clearly unimpressed by Djourou's contribution, replaced the defender with 18-year-old Nico Yennaris who was making his league debut.

Van Persie was presented with an easy chance five minutes after the break when Tomas Rosicky pinched the ball off Chris Smalling and squared for him but he fired wide from 10 yards with the goal gaping.

Van Persie then tricked his way past three United defenders and squared for Rosicky but his drive was blocked by Evra.

Laurent Koscielny burst in to the United half and laid the ball off to Oxlade-Chamberlain but his drive flew barely an inch wide.

Welbeck raced through after a headed clearance from the United back line and slipped the ball past the advancing Szczesny only to see his goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Per Mertesacker.

The striker fell in the challenge from Arsenal's goalkeeper, but despite United's protestations, Dean did not pull play back for a penalty.

Then with 20 minutes to go, Arsenal stunned the visitors with an equaliser.

The Gunners broke through Oxlade-Chamberlain who squared for Van Persie and his reverse shot flew through Evans' legs and in off the post.

Arsenal fans reacted with fury when Wenger brought Oxlade-Chamberlain off two minutes later for Andrey Arshavin.

Nani hobbled off and was replaced by Paul Scholes after being injured in a tackle and Ferguson sacrificed substitute Rafael for Park Ji-sung.

The Emirates Stadium was shocked in to near silence with nine minutes left after Welbeck put the Red Devils ahead.

Valencia lost his marker Arshavin and played a clever one-two with Park before squaring to Welbeck, who bundled home from close range.

Van Persie flung himself towards a header in injury time but United cleared and Evans calmly guided Mertesacker's header in to Lindegaard's arms soon after as the visitors clung on for a vital win.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power