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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 25 May, 2020
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Welcome to the day’s final Premier League game and what has tradiotnally been the division’s keynote fixture since its inception in 1992-93. But, for all of the recent tradition in this one, it will have to do a lot to live up to the drama of the new guard, City v Tottenham, earlier today. Arsenal will be driven for revenge but are somewhat depleted by absences. United badly need to keep the pressure on City. It should be an open game.

The teams:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Rosicky, Song, Ramsey, Walcott, van Persie, Oxlade-Chamberlain. Subs: Almunia, Park, Squillaci, Arshavin, Benayoun, Miquel, Yennaris.
Man Utd: Lindegaard, Jones, Smalling, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Nani, Rooney, Welbeck. Subs: De Gea, Berbatov, Park, Hernandez, Fabio Da Silva, Rafael Da Silva, Scholes.

Ferguson on the day’s early drama: “That’s football”

The big thing about this game is that Ferguson has clearly had the measure of Arsene Wenger over the past three years, winning seven of the last nine games between the two teams.

A fake Sky Sports twitter account is reporting that Harry Redknapp has resigned. he hasn’t.

The question is whether Arsenal can match United’s aggression. As Ferguson has illustrated and Gary Neville has explicitly said, “getting in Arsenal’s faces” has been a concerted tactic against Wenger’s sides for years. Ferguson believes they can’t handle it.

Although, United are missing bite in the middle with no Darren Fletcher. Jones will surely step into that role by regularly stepping up from defence.

We’re off.

Oxlade-Chamberlain making his full Premier League debut and flies through the United defence in the first two minutes to set up an Arsenal chance. Hacked away by United. A good sign for Arsenal.

United have now seized control. Spraying the ball about.

The Emirates offering up a zestful rendition of “Thursday nights, Channel 5″

Walcott takes aim after cutting into the United box but it’s easily collected by Lindegaard.

Not the quality of cross we’re used to from Antonio Valencia. He blazes it high and wide.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is giving Phil Jones a tough time on that left wing. Potential joy for Arsenal there if this keeps up.

Jones, however, has gone down awkwardly after attempting to face up to Walcott. Seems to have turned badly on his ankle. That doesn’t look good. He’s in some pain.

Jones being stretchered off.

Rafael on for Jones.

Arsenal break from a United corner, ending in a race between Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rafael to latch onto a loose ball but the Brazilian just about makes it first.

United the more controlled at the moment but Arsenal looking razor-sharp on the break.

Djourour has marshalled Nani well so far.

The ball fizzing across the Arsenal box dangerously a few times in the last couple of minutes.

Rupert Fryer sums it up perfectly so far:

United picking up ball deep and bypassing outnumbered midfield with simple passes to Rooney or out wide. Arsenal need to press better.

Walcott curls an effort just wide after being set up by Oxlade-Chamberlain. The yongster has been superb so far. (Not Walcott)

Great football by United to put Welbeck through but he’s caught by Koscielny who forces him into a poor shot.

United winning 75% of the game’s aerial duels apparently.

It’s not been great so far. About the same as the City-Spurs first half.

United fully in control now and Nani almost squeezes it in at the near post.

Despite that Nani effort, Surreal Football sum up the game so far superbly:

This game looks like how you’d imagine a game would look if the players had agreed on a betting scam to ensure it finished 0-0 beforehand.

And that really might have been a penalty to United. Giggs flicked Rooney through and, as he tried to turn, there appeared to be a push from Song with the striker going over.

On the replay, though, Rooney seems to have made the most of it.

Nani, who has been gradually wearing Djourou down after a difficult opening few exchanges, cuts in to create a chance but, rather than curl the shot in towards goal, he sends it out for a throw. Awful effort.

GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Manchester United

That has been coming. United much the better team in the last 20. Giggs crosses from the left wonderfully for Valencia to beat Koscielny with a flying header and hit the bottom corner. Sweeping.

Half-time: Arsenal 0-1 Manchester United

United’s late goal in the hall fully deserved as they’ve been absolutely killing Arsenal for the majority of it.

Arsenal bringing on 18-year-old full-back Yennaris for Djourou, who had been slowly roasted by Nani in that half. Not like that.

Yennaris beats Nani in a race to a Giggs through-ball, to the sound of encouraging claps from the Emirates crowd. Solid start for the 18-year-old.

Oh! What a miss… from Van Persie of all people! Chris Smalling slipped allowing Tomas Rosicky a clear run at goal. He pushed out a bit too far to the right and subsequently squared for Van Persie. With Evans sprawled, the Dutchman took a touch and basically had the whole goal to aim at. But, somehow, he blasted it wide.

Given the space and time he had, that must be one of the misses of the season.

That miss aside, Arsenal looking sprightlier second half.

Ramsey now cuts through the United defence at the edge of the box but his shot is always rising.

Speaking of miss of the season, it’s a reflection of Fernando Torres’s form that he has as many contenders in that as he does actual goals.

Another scare for United as a Robin van Persie run into the box ended with Tomas Rosicky blasting one at goal from close in. It’s aggressively blocked but there were suggestions of a hand.

Paul Scholes warming up as Ferguson possibly wants to take some of the edge out of the game with his controlled passing.

Oxlade-Chamberlain now narrowly wide. Arsenal finding a lot of joy at the edge of the United box. This is where they lack a Fletcher.

Almost two for United! Welbeck raced clear of Mertesacker for a one-on-one and just got enough on it to beat Szczesny. It wasn’t quite enough to cross the line though as Mertesacker raced back to slide and clear. A rare attack for United in the second half that came on the back of a tight offside call. Finding their way back into the game after a dangerous period of Arsenal pressure.

It is a much better game now. Flowing and open.

Welbeck almost through again. Rooney slides him through but Mertesacker’s touch forces the striker to take a heavier one than he might have. A clean touch would have put him through on goal.

GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Manchester United

A supreme, sweeping goal that started in Arsenal’s box and ended in United’s net. Rafael was well tackled in the box with Arsenal then surging upfield. Oxlade-Chamberlain sent over a fine ball to Van Persie – in the exact position where Rafael would have been – he cut inside and finished across goal in off the post. Brilliant.

Oxlade-Chamberlain goes off for Arshavin after a superb performance.

Scholes comes on for Nani.

Nani also limping off.

Ji-Sung Park on for Rafael. The Korean – who doesn’t get many – has scored five times against Arsenal.

Walcott appears to be out cold on the ground after a collusion with Lindegaard. The keeper signals to the line, looking worried.

Walcott is up, mercifully, if also wincing.

GOAL! Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United

Danny Welbeck scores for the third United game in a row as they respond well to a situation that appeared to put the win beyond them, but they partially have Andriy Arshavin to thank for that. The sub made a lazy half-hearted effort to stop Antonio Valencia. Cutting into the box, the winger played a one-two with Park before tapping the ball back for Welbeck, who lashed home.

United just containing this game now, as Arsenal look to have had the life saped out of them.

Arsenaljust firing random crosses across the United box now. Not happening.

There are, at least, five minutes of stoppage time for Arsenal though.

Mertesacker now up front for Arsenal.

At the moment, United are just beating away their crosses though.

So close to an equaliser as the ball is bounced dangerously across the United box. Chris Smalling appeared to knock the ball into his own net but as he got there ahead of Lindegaard but, instead, it was actually a superb defensive header to divert the ball away from the on-rushing Van Persie.

Welbeck could have killed it there as Rooney released Welbeck in a flowing counter-attack but, by the time he got into the box, the ball got tangled up in his legs. Not so flowing.

Full-time: Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United

Boos ring out around the Emirates but, despite a period after half-time, it’s hard to argue that United didn’t deserve that win. They bossed the first half and responded well to the Arsenal equaliser. In the end, the day doesn’t prove as decisive as many had made out as United keep pace with City.

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