United 1 Arsenal 0
United took all three points in a thrilling encounter with Arsenal to move two points clear at the top of the Premier League whilst also having a game in hand.
Paul Scholes failed a fitness test and Sir Alex, despite his five goal heroic five goal salvo last time out at Old Trafford, Dimitar Berbatov was only given a place on the bench. Ferdinand was passed fit to resume central defensive duties alongside Vidic at the heart of the defnece.
Team - Van der Sar, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Rafael, Anderson, Park, Carrick, Nani, Fletcher, Rooney
Subs - Kuszczak, Brown, Smalling, Giggs, Berbatov, Hernandez, Obertan
United go the action underway and the young Arsenal keeper, Szczesny was forced into action early on, first hacking a back pass clear and then misdirecting another clearance straight to a United player, unfortunately the subsequent pass found Rooney in an offside position.
United then wasted a free kick with Anderson`s ball not beating the first defender before the young Polish keeper claimed a difficult looking cross from Nani. Ten minutes into the half the keeper again dealt smartly with a Rooney shot, before Arsenal swept down the other end with as header from Chamakh not quite doing enough to trouble Van der Sar.
Nani then tried his luck with a thirty-five yard free kick that didn`t carry enough power to trouble Van der Sar and with half the half gone we were still waiting for our first clear cut chance. Arshavin had a shot from distance that went wide as the action continued to flow.
A Fletcher cross wasn`t quite cleared by Squillaci and the ball fell invitingly to Nani but his shot went just the wrong side of the post. Chamakh thought he`d earned a penalty when Rafael appeared to infringe him but the referee, Howard Webb, waved play on. Chamakh was then lucky himself when defending a United attack the ball appeared to strike his arm but once again no penalty was given By Howard Webb.
Fletcher then almost lost his rag with Webb when he was clearly blocked by Song but having paled the advantage rule the attack fizzled out to nothing, leaving an irate Fletcher to physically man-handle Webb.
Just as you thought the half would end goalless United struck when Nani`s cross deflected off Clichy and Park somehow twisted his body to guide home the ball, past a bewildered keeper, a quality finish.
United 1 Arsenal 0 (Park - 41 minutes)
Half Time - United 1 Arsenal 0
United started the second half well Nani unleashed a shot from the edge of the area but Koscielny managed to block it. Arsenal responded with an effort from Rosicky but it flew wide. Arsenal`s young Polish keeper, Szczesny, then kept his side in contention with a great save form Anderson after Rooney had delivered the perfect ball.
Down the other end, Van der Sar could only parry Nasri`s drive and it needed Ferdinand to divert the resulting shot from Chamakh. United then missed a glorious chance to double their lead. Nani had acres of space, Clichy put in an excellent tackle and when the ball fell back invitingly fo rNnai his shot was lifted over the bar.
Arsenal seeking to rescue something from the game, introduced Fabregas and Van Persie but it was still United who were pushing forward. Clichy conceded a free kick but Anderson, when the ball broke to him, screwed his shot wide. Ferdinand was then lucky to escape a caution after a wild challenge on Sagna left the Arsenal player writhing in agony and wearing a torn shirt, courtesy of a flying boot.
United had a glorious chance to wrap things up when Clichy handled the ball, on the floor, as Nani tried to dribble around him. Sadly Rooney, after a mazy run-up, only succeeded in putting the spot kick well over the bar.
Walcott, on as a substitute, tried a shot from thirty yards but it went wide. Chamakh then tried a header from way out that was always a comfortable save for Van der Sar. Rooney departed to be replaced by Giggs as United, through some stern defending, did their best to keep the Arsenal attack at bay.
One last chance saw a ball flung into the box, Chamakh got a flick on but Walcott screwed his shot wide and the three points were ours.
Full Time - United 1 Arsenal 0
Next up, Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this Sunday!
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