Sunday 17 May 2015

Match report: United 1-1 Arsenal

THEO Walcott's deflected cross earned Arsenal a share of the spoils after Ander Herrera had put United ahead in the Reds final home game of the season.

Louis van Gaal's side would have gone above the Gunners with a win and looked on course to do so, but Walcott's late cross (that will probably go down as a Tyler Blackett own goal) means Arsenal stay third and they will ensure a top three finish by beating Sunderland in their game in hand on Wednesday.

With both teams having already qualified for next season's Champions League, the game was low on intensity and tempo but a draw was ultimately a fair result.

In his programme notes, Van Gaal suggested a club of United's stature should not be celebrating fourth place- but it was hard to argue with his assertion that this season has been a step in the right direction after the dismal reign of his predecessor David Moyes. 

United started well and went close early on through Ashley Young before they got the goal the early dominance deserved when Young crossed to the back post and Ander Herrera volleyed home his eighth of the season after Marouane Fellaini's decoy run had created space.

Daley Blind's effort was deflected away by his own team mate Chris Smalling and Herrera's rasper flew narrowly over the bar as the Reds pushed for a second.

Van Gaal made a predictable change on the hour, replacing the labouring Falcao with  Robin Van Persie.
The Colombian's body language suggested that this was the final time he would be seen at Old Trafford as a United player after a frustrating campaign.

The other Red whose future has become a matter of public debate, David De Gea, showed why is he is so highly prized when he was finally called into action to block Olivier Giroud's angled effort.
The goalkeeper was beaten when Aaron Ramsey lofted towards goal, but Marcos Rojo's recovering header cleared the danger well.

Victor Valdes was unexpectedly handed a United debut but barely had time to settle when he was beaten by Walcott's speculative cross which deflected off substitute Tyler Blackett and wrong-footed the stopper. 

United Faithful Man of the Match: Ashley Young: Terrorized Arsenal throughout with his pace and delivery.
Overall team performance: 7/10 

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