Rooney seals smash-and-grab win for Red Devils
LONDON, NOVEMBER 23
An own goal from Kieran Gibbs and a Wayne Rooney strike gave Manchester United a vital 2-1 victory over Arsenal.
Gibbs collided with goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny before deflecting Antonio Valencia’s shot into his own goal to give Louis Van Gaal’s side the lead on 55 minutes.
Rooney added a second late on with a cool finish after Angel Di Maria led a United counter-attack which exploited the huge space Arsenal’s gung-ho approach provided.
Olivier Giroud came off the bench to give Arsene Wenger’s side hope with a thumping left-foot strike in stoppage time but United held on for their first away win of the season.
Although United had David De Gea to thank for keeping them in the game in the opening half-hour, the win was fully merited in the end as they weathered the storm before starting to pick the Gunners off on the break.
The loss was another poor result in a disappointing campaign for Arsenal, leaving them in eighth place while United climb into fourth spot.
Arsenal started brightly with Danny Welbeck flashing a header over the bar before the former United forward shot weakly straight at De Gea.
On 14 minutes a poor De Gea clearance was recycled by the Arsenal midfield before it fell for Jack Wilshere whose effort was saved superbly by the United keeper.
United’s makeshift defence had to be rejigged again after Luke Shaw hobbled off injured with Ashley Young replacing him at left wing-back.
Wilshere was then lucky to escape without even a caution when squaring up to Marouane Fellaini but referee Mike Dean judged a lecture to be appropriate.
The deadlock was broken 10 minutes after the break when Fellaini’s presence caused Szczesny and Gibbs to collide, with the left-back then unluckily deflecting Valencia’s fierce – but inaccurate – drive into his own net.
Arsenal poured forward in search of an equaliser but found United’s five-man defence – featuring youngsters Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair – offering them little time and space.
United went close to opening Arsenal up on the counter on several occasions before Di Maria and Rooney finally combined to grab a second on 84 minutes.
Di Maria wasted a great chance to make it three when he chipped wide from 12 yards but, although Giroud made them sweat with a stunning effort from the edge of the box, United held on for an important win.