Arsenal climbed into the top half of the Premier League table tonight with a thoroughly deserved victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford - their first since 2006.
Arsenal were comfortably the better team in the first half. They hustled United’s diamond midfield out of possession repeatedly, only to send all of the chances they created off target and failing to trouble David de Gea.
In a tight second half Arsenal took the lead after 69 minutes, when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted a penalty after Paul Pogba brought down Hector Bellerin in the penalty area.
United changed players and formations throughout the game to try and get going, but their approach play was cumbersome throughout.
After three defeats already this season it was a vital win for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. For Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer it was another deflating performance at Old Trafford, where they have taken just one point from 12 in the Premier League this season.
Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United battles for possession with Rob Holding of Arsenal
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - How much of a problem is Manchester United’s home form?
It might seem in keeping with this upside down world of football in 2020-21 that United can thrash the Bundesliga leaders at Old Trafford on Wednesday night and then crash to their third home defeat in four in the Premier League four days later. For Solskjaer though it’s an alarming run and might hint at broader problems in opening up teams that get bodies behind the ball quickly.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Gabriel (Arsenal)
He might have flirted with disaster when he brought down Mason Greenwood when already on a booking, but that should not disguise an imperious performance by Gabriel as the lynchpin of Arsenal’s back three. Several crucial and well-timed tackles kept United away from Arsenal’s goal, and his signing this summer looks to have been an astute piece of business by Arteta.
Manchester United: De Gea 6; Wan-Bissaka 6, Lindelof 6, Maguire 6, Shaw 5; McTominay 6, Fred 5, Pogba 5, Fernandes 6; Greenwood 6, Rashford 6. SUBS: Matic 6, Van de Beek 6, Cavani 5
14’ CHANCE! United give it away again, this time after a poor touch by Rashford. A patient move sees Arsenal work the ball to Bellerin on the right. He drills a low cross through the six-yard box and it's just beyond the sliding Aubameyang at the back post.
22’ CHANCE! Out of nothing, a raking low ball by Rashford finds Greenwood in space, wide on the left of the Arsenal area. He shoots low to the near post and Leno turns it behind for a corner. Arsenal clear that, and Fred is booked for hauling down the breaking Willian.
39’ CHANCE! Arsenal should be in front. Willian wins the ball deep in the United half and plays a quick one-two, before curling a shot from the right that lightly clips the top of the bar with De Gea beaten.
44’ CHANCE! Another one goes begging for Arsenal. Bellerin clips in a cross from the corner of the area and finds Saka. He's unmarked completely, six yards out, but glances his header over the bar. Arsenal are creating open looks at goal here and they still haven't worked De Gea.
52’ CLOSE! Lacazette robs the ball from an idling Fred in the middle of the United half. He drives forward and lays it off to Aubameyang just outside the United area. Aubameyang takes aim, but curls his shot just wide of De Gea's left-hand post.
68’ PENALTY! Bellerin loses Pogba, running into the area behind him onto a ball from Willian, and Pogba treads on Bellerin's ankle as he goes by. What a chance now for Arsenal...
Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba chases the ball
Image credit: Getty Images
69’ GOAL! Manchester United 0 Arsenal 1 (Aubameyang pen. 69) Aubameyang sends De Gea definitively the wrong way, tucking the ball into the bottom right corner to give Arsenal the lead.
85’ OFF THE POST! Van de Beek drills in a low cross to the near post. It deflects off Elneny, then the head of Leno, before hitting the post and bouncing clear!
Arsenal have won six times in their last 42 league visits to Old Trafford, each time by a score of 1-0.