Saturday, August 29, 2009

United 2 - 1 Arsenal

Manchester United came from a goal down to beat title rivals Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Andrei Arshavin smashed home the opener but after the break a Wayne Rooney penalty and an own goal from Abou Diaby settled the match in the Reds' favour.

Arsenal's misery was compounded when Robin van Persie had a late goal ruled out for offside, after which Gunners manager Arsene Wenger was sent to the stands for his protestations.

Arsenal started well and Arshavin threatened to run riot.

The Russian might have scored earlier than he did too when Ben Foster flapped at a Van Persie corner.

Arsenal had a strong penalty shout when Darren Fletcher cleaned out Arshavin but referee Mike Dean was unmoved. But Arsenal maintained their offensive. The impressive Denilson slid a pass through to Arshavin, who had found space between United’s defence and midfield which Ferguson’s team selection was supposed to prevent.

Ferguson did not try to change things during the interval. And his team were almost out of the game before he had retaken his seat.

At that point, there seemed to be only one winner. How wrong those doubters were as Ferguson’s team surged back, Ryan Giggs the architect behind the comeback just as Arshavin had sparked Arsenal earlier.

The difference was Dean said yes when United claimed their penalty as Rooney went crashing to the ground after Giggs had supplied the pass that sent him through one-on-on with Manuel Almunia.

Questions were asked when Rooney did not take the one Michael Carrick missed at Burnley. There was no need this time as Rooney went straight for the ball, put it on the spot and promptly sent Almunia the wrong way.

When Diaby was hacked at by Rooney and Wes Brown, both men were booked and Van Persie was offered the chance to curl a free-kick at Foster’s goal which thudded against the crossbar.

A minute later, from a very similar position, United got their second.

In truth, Giggs’ free-kick would not have threatened Almunia if Diaby had not stuck his head on it and deflected it straight into the corner of his own goal.

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