Arsenal salvage a point at Old Trafford to stay 3rd on the table and need only two points to finish 3rd and qualify directly for the UEFA Champions League
BY STEVE NJUGUNA
Arsenal produced a rigid and lackluster performance to hold Manchester United at Old Trafford leaving the Gunners in an admirable 3rd position and they need only 2 points out of two games two seal that position as theirs. For Manchester United it leaves them in danger of facing a Champions league qualification playoff.
The usually intense game started at a slow pace with the hosts preferring to retain large swathes of possession and Arsenal content to hit on the counter attack. The Red devils started trying to probe and tested David Ospina in the Arsenal goal. However, the breakthrough came at the stroke of halftime as Ashley Young brought in a cross which was neatly tucked into the bottom corner by the unmarked Spanish midfielder who brings his decent goal tally to 8 for the season.
Arsenal came back with more intent as forwards Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez but there seemed to be no hope.Arsene Wenger then desperately threw on English midfielders Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere to get an equalizer. Then things seemed to all of a sudden go in favor of Arsenal as inspirational Spanish shot stopper David De Gea hobbled off the pitch grasping his hip in a manner suggesting injury. In his place came international teammate Victor Valdes who was making his first premier league appearance for Manchester United. Tyler Blackett also came in for Marcos Rojo as Manchester United attempted to shore up their defences.However, it was Wenger’s tactical ploy that worked as 8 minutes from time, Walcott sent in a cross that was deflected into the back of the net by a sorry Tyler Blackett.
Manchester United fans will be concerned though about how their star keeper De Gea is faring as rumor has it he could be headed for European bigwigs Real Madrid of his native Spain and has already agreed personal terms. Only time will tell as anyone of a Manchester United persuasion looks back on the game and the underlying implications. The result leaves Arsenal in 3rd place on 71 points two points ahead of Manchester United who are on 69 points but Arsenal have a game in hand against Sunderland in midweek before finishing their campaign against West Brom on the weekend while Manchester United will play away against relegation –threatened Hull City.