Premier League: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
Manchester United goals: Pogba 16, Fellaini 90+1
Arsenal goal: Mkhitaryan 51
Manchester United hosted Arsenal at Old Trafford before a crowd of 75,035. In injury time, Manchester United striker Marouane Fellaini headed the winner for Jose Mourinho's side after Henrikh Mkhitaryan's equalizer canceled out Paul Pogba's the match’s opening at Old Trafford in the last battle between Mourinho and his arch-rival retiring Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger at Old Trafford. Konstantinos Mavropanos was handed his debut by Wenger for the clash. Paul Pogba opened the scoring during the first half after former Arsenal superstar striker Alexis Sanchez's header rebounded back off the post. The French midfielder reacted well to score a simple of tap-in. Former Everton star striker Romelu Lukaku was forced off with an injury and replaced by Man United’s Marcus Rashford early on in the second half. Former Manchester United footballer Henrikh Mkhitaryan levelled for Arsenal six minutes into the second half with a low, driven shot against David de Gea. Mkhitaryan equalized against his old club from a United mistake, with Herrera and Matic leaving the ball to each other in midfield. Xhaka nicked it off them and played it to Mkhitaryan, who drove a low shot that went through the legs of Lindelof and into the net. De Gea was unsighted and the ball went into the corner. Substitute Rashford saw his late effort correctly chalked off for offside after the ball rebounded off him and in. Then sub Marouane Fellaini broke Arsenal's resistance with a late header to earn United all three points on
Sunday. Arsenal manager Wenger rested eight players ahead of Thursday's Europa League semi-final second leg at Atletico Madrid. If Arsenal win the Europa League, they will qualify for next year’s lucrative Champions League tournament. United won this game and they are now assured of Champions League football next season. Man United may yet win the FA Cup against Chelsea. Great seats and last minutes for Arsenal and Manchester are still available from the world’s top football tickets marketplace – LiveFootballTickets.com!
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s final trip to Old Trafford as boss ended in defeat after Marouane Fellaini’s injury-time header gave United all three points. United need four points from the last three games to be certain of finishing second on the table. Those games are Brighton (A), West Ham (A) and Watford (H). After the match, Wenger talked to the media. “It was a very positive performance and overall it reflects our season away from home," said Wenger. "We looked a little tired in the last 20 minutes. It’s good to see the young players having the courage to play in this atmosphere. It was a very nice reception – it was classy. I have come here for a long, long time and next year somebody else will sit on the bench and they will get a very hostile reception!”
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho complimented Arsenal. “A draw wouldn’t have been unfair. They played well; the two young center-backs did very, very well. We had a few more chances but that’s normal. We changed our approach in the second half, we had more width and we used Marouane to give us more presence in the box. I knew they were going to drop deep, and without Lukaku I felt we needed a presence in the air. I knew we would create problems that way.”
Arsene Wenger has picked his squad with eight changes from the side that drew with Atletico Madrid on Thursday night: David Ospina, Hector Bellerin and Granit Xhaka are the survivors.
De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Young; Herrera, Matic, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Sanchez. Substitutes: Pereira, Rojo, Mata, Fellaini, McTominay, Martial, Rashford.
Ospina; Bellerin, Mavropanos, Chambers, Kolasinac; Maitland-Niles, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Nelson, Iwobi; Aubameyang. Substitutes: Cech, Osei-Tutu, Holding, Monreal, Willock, Welbeck, Nketiah.
Referee Kevin Friend
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Man of the Match, also commented on the outcome. “We’re disappointed and unhappy to concede so late. You live and learn from these experiences and it was great to be out there. The manager trusts the young players and we tried to show what we could do. I’m happy playing midfield and I guess I delivered. The manager is like a father figure to me and it’s brilliant having someone like that.”
Paul Pogba was happy with his side's performance. “I feel very good. We played well, we had lots of chances. The perfect season would have been the league – we didn’t manage that, but we want to finish second and win the FA Cup.” Marouane Fellaini was dangerous and won the match. “The manager told me to get into the box. I know my quality, I know that if the ball comes in the box I can be dangerous. It was a good ball, I tried to flick it, and it’s a goal.”
Before the start of the game, Wenger was flanked by his two most bitter adversaries in football Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson on the touchline. Ferguson greeted Wenger with a kind embrace and Mourinho joined them as he gave the Frenchman his leaving gift as warm applause broke out from the crowd at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson presented Arsene Wenger with a gift to mark his departure - an engraved silver vase in a presentation case.The two managers Ferguson and Mourinho have been critical of Wenger during his 22 years in English football. Here, on his 28th and final visit to Old Trafford as Arsenal manager, they wanted to pay their respects. Ferguson experienced the adulation and acclaim of his peers when he departed Manchester United five years ago with another Premier League title under his belt. Ferguson believes that the time is right for his old adversary to bid farewell to the club. “I think he knows himself that it’s time,” said Ferguson. “He did 22 years: it’ll not be done again. It’s not easy in the modern world to manage a club for that length of time and it takes an exceptional person to do that.’
In the build-up to the game, Mourinho had said he regretted some of his more vitriolic attacks on Wenger. Reportedly the more Ferguson feared a rival manager, the more he would target that manager. No-one was targeted more by the Scot than Wenger as United and Arsenal locked horns in the greatest rivalry of the Premier League era. “In my time we had a few arguments but I did always really respect the man because he did a fantastic job at his club,” added Ferguson. We have dinner every year now at the coaching meetings in Switzerland and we go to the same little restaurant. We enjoy the company. You get older and you forget all the battles in the sense of what they meant at the time. United against Arsenal was great for the game. It made the Premier League. We had to beat them. Had to. There were some almighty battles because here were two teams and two managers battling for one award — the Premier League.” The victory against the Gunners confirmed Man United’s place in next season’s Champions League but Wenger will have to emulate Mourinho and win the Europa League to restore Arsenal to Europe’s prestigious tournament next season. Arsenal could still be overtaken for sixth place by Burnley or Everton. “That respect will all come out now,” said United’s manager of 26 years, speaking from experience. “He goes down in the history books for their club. His contribution to the Premier League has been huge. You can’t ignore the job he’s done — it’s been absolutely fantastic.”
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