Arsenal: Szczesny, Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Ramsey, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Sanchez
Subs: Martinez, Bellerin, Flamini, Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud
Arsenal blew their chances to take the lead against Man United this evening, and paid the price as the visitors ran out 2-1 winners at the Emirates to leave the Gunners with their lowest points tally in the league for 32 years after this many games.
Arsene Wenger recalled Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere to the starting line-up, sacrificing Santi Cazorla in the process, and retained Alexis and Danny Welbeck as his attacking options.
The former Man Utd man began on the left hand side with the Chilean up front, and Welbeck had an early chance to show his old club what they were missing when he was found by Oxlade-Chamberlain in the box. Unfortunately he didn’t quite connect, saw his shot blocked and the resulting corner came to nothing.
Arsenal’s bright start continued as the pair combined again – this time an Oxlade-Chamberlain cross which the striker headed over when he should really have hit the target. Jack Wilshere should probably have caused de Gea more problems than he did after a great driving run saw him shoot from the edge of the United area, before Welbeck worked the keeper with an effort from distance.
Wilshere should have opened the scoring in the 15th minute, after a bad de Gea kick rebounded to Danny Welbeck. He fed the midfielder who ran clean through, one on one with the keeper, but he hit the shot straight at him from very close range. That Alexis was unmarked with a tap-in made it even more frustrating.
The visitors were forced into a defensive change when Luke Shaw failed to run off an ankle turn and was replaced by Ashley Young. They also had their first attempt at goal when Wayne Rooney fired a free kick over the bar in the 21st minute.
Jack Wilshere was lucky to avoid a red card when he clashed with Fellaini in the United half. As the pair came together Wilshere seemed to lean his head into the Belgian’s face right under the nose of referee Mike Dean. We’ve seen players sent off for much less and given that it was Mike Dean and Man Utd, we can be thankful he got nothing more than a stern talking to.
Alexis tested de Gea with another effort from distance but the Spaniard, easily United’s best player, saved smartly at his near post. At the other end the Angel of Mary curled a shot just wide after they found some joy down our left, but it did look as if Szczesny had it covered.
Ramsey curled a shot over from a good position, before Arsenal had Calum Chambers to thank for keeping the scores level. Angel of Mary made a fantastic break, the ball fell to the hideous beast in the box but the right back got across to make a sensational block. United had a series of corners which put Arsenal under some pressure but which they dealt with each time.
There was more danger from an Arsenal corner just before half-time. The Alexis set-piece came to Ramsey at the back post, he played it back across goal to Welbeck with his back to goal. He had nobody to lay it off to so he tried a cheeky back-heel but it went wide.
It meant the teams went in level at half-time.
Arsenal began the second period brightly with Per Mertesacker hooking over a shot from a corner, before Danny Welbeck again forced de Gea into a close-range save when he could have squared it for an onrushing Wilshere.
The England man was then hurt in a clash on the edge of the United box as he tried to feed in a number of Arsenal players but his final ball was found wanting. He tried to run off what was a nasty challenge by McNair but in the end was replaced by Santi Cazorla in the 55th minute.
It seemed to distract Arsenal and a minute later the visitors took the lead. United crossed from the right, Fellaini was offside, Szczesny collided with Gibbs and with the keeper stricken on the ground, Gibbs stuck a foot out at Valencia’s shot and it deflected into an empty net. 0-1.
The frustration was compounded by the fact Szczesny was forced off through injury, it looked like damaged ribs from the Gibbs collision, and he was replaced by Emi Martinez making his Premier League debut.
Arsenal looked to respond quickly and after an Oxlade-Chamberlain cross found Alexis, de Gea spoiled the party again by making a good save from the Chilean. The Spaniard foiled us again in the 69th minute when Monreal played a long ball to Welbeck. He laid it off to Cazorla and his shot from just outside the box was saved by the United keeper.
Alexis curled a free kick from a good position over the bar shortly afterwards, before Arsene Wenger made his final change of the game with Olivier Giroud making his comeback in the stead of Aaron Ramsey in the 77th minute.
The Frenchman almost made his introduction sensational, heading over from a corner with his first touch. The Gunners pressed and pressed but against a packed United defence couldn’t find their way through.
Cazorla saw a cross shot cleared after making space in the box, but the next goal came at the wrong end from an Arsenal point of view. A clearly exhausted Alexis gave the ball away high up the pitch, United broke and with Arsenal pressing for an equaliser there was all the room in the world for Rooney to charge towards goal and finish past Martinez. 0-2.
There were 8 minutes of injury time and it could have been worse for Arsenal – the Angel of Mary should have made it 3-0 when he was clean through, but chipped the ball wide. That meant Giroud’s cracking goal made the final few minutes nervy for United. The Frenchman latched onto Arteta’s ball over the top, lashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner. 1-2.
It raised hope but that’s all it did, United saw the time out and took the three points.
This was the worst United defence in fucking history and we couldn’t win a game at home. What a shambles. What a mess. And what the fuck are we going to do from here?
It’s not fun folks, but please, if you are commenting, remember your manners.