Sunday, April 21, 2024

Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United: Arteta earns first victory as Gunners’ boss

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Mikel Arteta got his first victory as Arsenal manager with a 2-0 victory against an under-par Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on New Years’ Day.

Nicolas Pepe got the hosts off to a brilliant start as he converted Sead Kolasinac’s deflected cross in only the 8th minute. Sokratis doubled the lead minutes before half-time as he powered in from close range following a corner to secure a confidence-boosting win to ensure the Gunners begun 2020 finally in the top-half of the Premier League.

Perfect start from Pepe

After naming an attacking lineup for the match, Gunners’ boss Mikel Arteta was rewarded with an early lead. Kolasinac found space on the left and looked to cross towards Alexandre Lacazette. The ball took a touch off of Victor Lindelöf though, carrying it into the path of Pepe who coolly slotted into the far corner.

He was almost the creator of Arsenal’s second just minutes after but Aubemayang’s acrobatic attempt from the Frenchman’s cross was wildly off target.

The chances continued to come for Arsenal throughout the opening half. Lacazette did well to spin away from Harry Maguire, only to fire wide before Lucas Torreira also sent a low effort off target.

Arsenal continue to go close

The Gunners were left wondering quite how they didn’t have a more comfortable lead. Poor play from the Red Devils’ backline saw the ball gifted to Pepe but he could only strike the base of the post from outside of the area.

Their deserved goal did eventually come though just before the break as David De Gea reacted well to keep out a powerful header from a corner, only to see the ball fall to Sokratis. It was an easy task for the Greek international as he dispatched the ball into the roof of the net from just yards out.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men improved after the break but continued to struggle to create any proper chances of note, with Arsenal looking extremely disciplined and organised.

Late chances

There was a chance for the hosts to finally wrap up the points late on as Aubameyang broke but his cross just evaded substitute Reiss Nelson. United also had a late opportunity to have an impact on the scoreline as Marcus Rashford latched onto Juan Mata’s lofted ball but Bernd Leno did extremely well to block the Englishman’s shot as Arsenal claimed three points.

Final Thoughts

The Gunners certainly deserved this victory. They looked the more committed, creative and organised of the two teams. The visitors were slightly better after the break but still did not quite do enough to come back, with Arsenal securing what was sure to be a crucial three points. As a result, there are now only four points between the two teams, with Manchester United sitting in fifth and Arsenal in tenth.

Match Report

Arsenal: Leno (); Kolasinac (7) (Saka (7), 69′), Luiz (7), Sokratis (7), Maitland-Niles (6); Xhaka (7), Torreira (7), Ozil (7); Aubameyang (6), Pepe (7) (Nelson (6), 62′), Lacazette (7) (Guendouzi (N/A), 82′).

Manchester United: De Gea (6); Shaw (5), Maguire (5), Lindelof (5), Wan-Bissaka (6); Matic (6) (Mata (N/A), 81′), Fred (5); Rashford (5), Lingard (5) (Pereira (5), 58′), James (5) (Greenwood (5), 58′); Martial (5).

Goals: Pepe (8′), Sokratis (42′)

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Yellow Cards: Kolasinac (3′), Saka (82′)

Red Cards: N/A

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is a football journalism graduate from the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately six years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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