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Arsenal halt Man United's progress

match report

Arsenal 1 - 0 Manchester United

Arsenal won with a goal from Aaron Ramsey, whose career has been disrupted by injury, but may have quaked near the end when Gaël Clichy's studs made contact with the calf of the substitute Michael Owen. The referee Chris Foy took no action and was at least consistent here in his scepticism towards such appeals.

 

It was a windy afternoon and other factors also made it difficult for players to show poise. United, as visitors, were naturally combative, with Anderson making his presence felt at the core of midfield. Arsenal, all the same, ought still to have been given the opportunity to open the scoring 12 minutes from the interval. Nemanja Vidic had his arm extended and made contact with a cross from Theo Walcott, but Foy took no action.

The official was giving a minimalist performance and had declined to award a free-kick earlier when Vidic seemed to foul Jack Wilshere near the penalty area. Despite such incidents, the visitors usually looked sound. It was a hindrance to Arsenal that Cesc Fábregas missed the fixture with a thigh strain and Samir Nasri did not last beyond the interval because of a hamstring problem.

Nonetheless, it was United who suffered. Sir Alex Ferguson must have anticipated taking command as they have done in the past at the Emirates and the Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny did make a good save from a Wayne Rooney free-kick soon after the interval. Even so, the opposition were beginning to impose a pattern in their build-up and took the lead after 56 minutes.

Ramsey slipped a low ball from Wilshere into the corner of the net. This was merely a second start of the Arsenal league campaign for the scorer, who has also been on loan to Cardiff as he tries to re-establish his career following a broken leg. United, however, could be excused for lacking any glow of benevolence as they fell behind.

Prior to the goal, the visitors had brought on Antonio Valencia, as if they expected to be on the attack. With Arsenal in front, adventure was obligatory but Arsène Wenger's men coped well enough, with Szczesny blocking a shot from an angle by Nani. For the moment at least, there is an obstacle, too, in United's path to the title.

 

Adapted from: The Guardian


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