In tonight’s game at the Emirates against Arsenal, Manchester United earned their first away Premier League win of the season and first away win since defeating Newcastle 4-0 in April of this year. United went into the game with their injuries problems as they seem to have done in every game this season. Due to these injury problems United reverted to the 3 central defenders that had been tried earlier in the season without much success. Antonia Valencia and Luke Shaw playing in the wing-back positions. Carrick, Fellaini and Rooney were playing in a midfield 3 with Di Maria playing off Van Persie.
Arsenal were by far the better team in the first half of the game, creating several clear chances on the United goal and luckily for United, Arsenal were unable to convert these chances due to poor finishing and some fine goalkeeping from David De Gea. Although as I say Arsenal had the better and created some very good chances, I never really felt worried that Arsenal were definitely going to score. United weren’t helped when losing Luke Shaw after he turned his ankle, although looking at it now I feel Luke Shaw was struggling with the wing-back role. I think he was stuck between attacking and defender, he is much more comfortable playing as a full-back in a back four. Shaw was caught several times when Arsenal attacked down his side. Surprised I’m saying but felt we looked a bit more solid with Young at left wing-back. He defended well when needed to and offered a threat going forward.
United seemed to get a foot hold in game after the 30 minute and offered a more attacking threat and forcing four consecutive corners in the closing stages of the first half and they ended the half much better than they started it. We reached 0-0 at half-time and United were probably glad to reach half-time still level. Again Arsenal starting the half the better and had some good early pressure but didn’t really create any clear cut chances. Then United took the lead through a Gibbs OG, Young cut inside onto his right foot on the left wing and crossed the ball to the far post when Gibbs and Arsenal Goalkeeper clashed and both were on the floor as the ball came out to Valencia. Valencia drilled the ball back in and Gibbs still on the floor stuck out a leg and diverted the ball into his own net.
Arsenal tried to hit back straight and threw everything at United, United defended resolutely and hit Arsenal on the break several times as they had left themselves very open at the back. Arsenal were pretty much attacking down the centre of the pitch which was a packed area and Arsenal struggled to create any clear cut chances. United after several other chances to punish Arsenal on the break managed to do so when Fellaini played the ball to Di Maria who in turn played in Rooney who was clean through on the goal and dinked it over the oncoming keeper. United should have had a third when Di Maria was cleaned and similar to Rooney tried to dink it over the keeper but his attempt was wide. We had 8 minutes of stoppage time and Giroud scored five minutes into this to give United a nervy final few minutes and they hung on for that first away win of the season and move into the top four.
I really hope this could be a turning point for United especially with two homes against Hull and Stoke coming up, they really need to win those two and make it 4 wins on the spin and start to move away from the teams below them and put some pressure on the teams above them. David De Gea for me was Man Of The Match in this game, there is no other choice really, De Gea early saves really kept United in this game and without him they wouldn’t have won this match. I also thought Smalling, Carrick, Fellaini and Young all put in decent performances and captain Rooney really put in a performance for the team, in sacrificing his attacking instincts to stay around Arteta for most of the match. This a game we really needed to win given I feel Arsenal will be one of our real contenders for that top 4 position.