Fergie hails Gunners win! (AUDIO)
Interview Length: 2 Min 45 Sec
To listen to Sir Alex Ferguson's post-match interview CLICK HERE
An afternoon of jittery nerves according to Sir Alex Ferguson. The United boss admitted his side deserved to be behind following Emmanuel Adebayor's controversial opener early in the second half at Old Trafford.
The Togo striker seemed to 'head' in Gael Clichy's cross with his hand - a decision which Fergie admitted 'the referee couldn't see' - perhaps his choice of a calmer approach influenced by the final result.
United suffered another scare just moments later when Rio Ferdinand's deflection from a cross almost put Arsenal two up had Edwin Van Der Sar not been so alert. The Dutchman pulled of a stunning block to keep the home team just one down and straight from United's break they were given the opportunity to equalise. Owen Hargreaves first influence on the match came as his ball into the box was inexplicably handled by Gunners' captain William Gallas inside the penalty area.
The cheers which greeted Arsenal's goal just 4 minutes earlier turned to groans as far as Kensington, with watching Chelsea fans praying for United to drop points and put the destiny of the title back in their hands. Fergie's men started the day 3 points ahead of Chelsea, but with such a superior goal difference the King's Road club needed United to drop a point anywhere to put the destiny of the title back in their hands - United still need to visit Stamford Bridge later this month and with a home record of 4 years and counting without defeat, Avram Grant's team would fancy their chances.
But Cristiano Ronaldo eventually scored from the spot after being ordered to re-take following too much stop-start in his initial run up.
Suddenly United seemed eager. They deserved to be behind, but found new life following the introduction of Carlos Tevez and Anderson - the Argentine fizzing a shot just past the post beyond Jens Lehmann's outstretched hand.
And following another let off at their end, this time Wes Brown deflecting Gael Clichy's cross on to the post via another outstanding stop from Van Der Sar, United took the lead.
Patrice Evra joined the attack and he was brought down by Gilberto just a few yards outside the box. Up stepped Hargreaves for his second meaningful contribution to the game. With so many fans expecting Ronaldo to step up to the plate, they may have forgotten they have another gem from set pieces in the England midfielder. His free kick landed just inside the post with Arsenal's keeper left flat footed.
Arsenal pressed again after that, and United had to live on nervy ground when Van Der Sar pulled off yet another great save on the line this time from sub Nicklas Bendtner's header late on.
But they held on, despite not being at their best, and can now claim one hurdle conquered as they effectively knocked out their North London rivals from the title race and maintained their chances of retaining the title with another crucial win.
Ferguson was absolutely delighted afterwards.