Arsenal take third place advantage after draw with Manchester United
An entertaining contest at Old Trafford saw Manchester United held to a draw by Arsenal, however the Red Devils will be left wondering how they didn’t win the match.
Despite a fast start from the Gunners who were pressing quickly, United virtually dominated 70 minutes of the match, with Ashley Young time and again causing Arsenal problems on the left hand side, with troubling crosses into the area.
It was Young who carved the first credible chance, cutting inside as he so likes to do and firing on his right foot, though the shot flew over the bar into the stand.
Marouane Fellaini, as he has been often this season, was a handful for Arsenal in midfield, and made for an interesting duel between himself and Arsenal’s equally impressive Francis Coquelin, who was worked hard in defence.
On the half hour mark though, Young’s persistence paid off, and whizzing down the line this time, he passed right back Hector Bellerin and floated a ball to the back post, where Ander Herrera ghosted in unmarked and struck a controlled volley past goalkeeper David Ospina.
United dominated until half time, and following the interval it was more of the same, however, for all of their possession, they couldn’t carve out a clear-cut chance.
Bellerin made perhaps the tackle of the match when he chased Young back with United’s De Gea launching a counter-attack from one throw, in what could have caused problems for Arsenal. The right back’s pace and work rate, one feature that counted for him in what was a great battle between the two players.
Midway through the first half, however, disaster struck for United. De Gea, arguably their player of the season, limped off with an injury, and seemingly bid farewell to home fans at the same time, though he was also joined by Marcos Rojo, who had picked up a knock.
On came Victor Valdes for his debut, and the inexperienced Tyler Blackett. Arsene Wenger responded almost immediately bringing on Theo Walcott to face Blackett.
The impact was immediate as the winger got in behind the United defender, who made the mistake of going square-on and Walcott exploited this. Although his shot goal-wards took a deflection from Blackett, it wrong-footed Valdes in goal, as Arsenal scored the vital equaliser.
With the clock running down, Wenger took a pragmatic approach, bringing on Mathieu Flamini, with Arsenal in the driving seat for automatic Champions League qualification, as the match finished 1-1 at Old Trafford.