Manchester United’s unbeaten league run under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came to an end in the capital on Sunday afternoon, as a first-half Granit Xhaka strike and a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty sealed all three points for Arsenal.
The Gunners took the lead 12 minutes in, having dominated the early possession. Alexandre Lacazette and Aubameyang had opportunities to give the hosts the lead inside the opening ten minutes, the latter trying his luck from distance as well as attempting an overhead kick; both shots went high and wide. Sead Kolasinac was a constant threat on Arsenal’s left wing too, his first cross of the match after two minutes evading everyone and luckily also going just wide of De Gea’s post.
The breakthrough goal came from an unlikely source in Xhaka. The Swiss international, urged to shoot by the home fans, did just that. His low shot from outside the area wrong-footed De Gea who took a step to his left, the ball swerving wickedly to the right and past him.
Dalot – in for Eric Bailly as one of three changes to the side that won in Paris on Wednesday night – took up an advanced role on the right as he did against Crystal Palace. He was involved just before half-time; a lightning counter-attack initiated by a signature Pogba long-ball taken down brilliantly by Lukaku just outside the area. Dalot, played in on the overlap, pulled a pass back in the direction of Marcus Rashford but goalscorer Xhaka got to it just before the striker.
And Arsenal capitalised, scoring the all-important second goal of the game from the penalty spot. Referee Jonathan Moss pointed to the spot, adjudging Fred’s challenge on Lacazette to be a foul. Aubameyang, having missed from the spot in the dying minutes of north London derby last week, made no mistake this time, passing the ball down the middle and into the back of the net.
Mason Greenwood came on to make his Premier League debut with ten minutes remaining, replacing Nemanja Matic, but his chances to make a dramatic impact were limited.
The result means Arsenal leapfrog United back into fourth in the race for a Champions League spot, which looks likely to go down to the wire.
Arsenal:Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil (Iwobi 76), Aubameyang (Suarez 79), Lacazette (Nketiah 85).
Subs not used:Cech, Mustafi, Elneny, Guendouzi.
Booked:Sokratis 38, Kolasinac 89.
Scorers:Xhaka 12, Aubameyang 69 pen.
United: De Gea; Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw; Matic (Greenwood 79), Fred, Pogba; Dalot (Martial 70), Lukaku, Rashford.
Subs not used: Romero, Bailly, Rojo, McTominay, Andreas.
Booked: Pogba 76.
Referee: Jonathan Moss.