By Andrew Embling
- De Gea and Rojo returning to starting eleven
- Rashford strikes twice on Premier League debut, making it 4 goals in two games for the young striker
Manchester United delivered a dramatic blow to Arsenal’s title credentials with a 3-2 win at Old Trafford.
The Gunners went into the game as clear favourites, with United’s squad still decimated by injury, but youngster Marcus Rashford continued his fairytale start to his first team career as he scored two and made another for Herrera as Louis Van Gaal’s side held on for a crucial win.
Despite the catalogue of injuries van Gaal was able to call upon fit again goalkeeper David De Gea and it was the United keeper who was called upon after seven minutes as Monreal was played through by Ozil only to see the goalkeeper come out quickly to smother the effort.
United were also looking like they could be dangerous in attack, Cech saving well from Memphis after Rashford had been fouled right on the edge of the area.
Arsenal were seeing plenty of the ball, but United were defending brilliantly and just when it looked like their opponents were getting on top the Red Devils took the lead.
Herrera won the ball in the midfield and released Varela down the right. The full back’s cross fell invitingly to Rashford who made no mistake to open the scoring after 29 minutes.
It was another dream moment for the 18-year-old, but he wasn’t about to stop there as United came forward again down the right, Rashford meeting Lingard’s curling delivery to head past Cech.
But Arsenal were not about to lie down and it was a former United man who cut the deficit with five minutes to go to half-time.
The Gunners won a free kick; Ozil’s delivery headed past De Gea by Danny Welbeck after Rojo had failed to clear.
Ozil saw a free kick strike the wall and Sanchez’s follow up was well blocked as Arsenal came close to drawing level, but the half-time whistle blew with United in charge of proceedings.
Arsenal came out after the break intent on controlling the game. United were finding it hard to get out of their own half in the opening minutes of the second half as the Londoners pushed for an equaliser.
And United’s job became harder as they lost Marcos Rojo following a forceful challenge by Welbeck, the Argentine replaced by Timothy Fosu-Mensah for his United debut.
Schneiderlin saw his volley blocked by Sanchez whilst Cech almost spilled Memphis’s effort from the edge of the box. Arsenal were finding it hard to create anything of note and their job became harder as Rashford turned from goalscorer to provider.
United broke at speed with the youngster teeing up Herrera, who’s effort took a wicked deflection off Koscielny to give Cech no chance.
But Arsenal pulled it back to 3-2 after United gave the ball away and, although De Gea foiled Welbeck from close range, Ozil turned in the rebound.
Ramsey was lucky not to see red for the Gunners after reacting angrily to a Herrera challenge, whilst Giroud headed over as the game headed into the final ten minutes finely balanced.
Koscielny headed straight at De Gea, but United hung on manfully to keep themselves in with a shout of the top four and dent Arsenal’s title chances in the process.
Manchester United: De Gea, Varela, Carrick, Blind, Rojo (Fosu-Mensah 55), Herrera (Weir 90+5), Schneiderlin, Lingard, Mata, Memphis, Rashford (Januzaj 80) Substitutes Not Used: Romero, McNair, Riley, Pereira