Arsenal earned a valuable Premier League point with a 1-1 draw against Man Utd at the Emirates this afternoon.
Arsene Wenger kept faith with the midfield that started against Fulham, with Tomas Rosicky preferred to Jack Wilshere, while Lukas Podolski started up front in the absence of Olivier Giroud.
And the Gunners got off to a great start going ahead in the 3rd minute. Robin van Persie, whose first touches were roundly booed, gave the ball away in midfield. Arsenal worked it into the midfield, Rosicky played it through to Walcott who was just about offside, but he took it on, and finished close to the near post. 1-0.
Arsenal had the early wind in their sails and Tomas Rosicky fired a shot wide before Santi Cazorla forced David de Gea into a great save, his left footed drive from 30 yards was going into the top corner.
With Rosicky and Ramsey getting stuck in in midfield, much to the ire of Alex Ferguson, Arsenal looked the part, but might have been pegged back when Phil Jones headed wide with the goal at his mercy.
It was the visitors who found themselves on the wrong side of referee Phil Dowd with Jones, Rafael, van Persie and Evans in the book before the half hour mark.
De Gea made a good save from a Podolski after good work from Aaron Ramsey, and when United did come forward they found Arsenal in stubborn move. Nani found space for a shot but by the time he’d got it away two Arsenal players had throw themselves in front of the ball, and from the rebound Kieran Gibbs ensured he won the 50-50.
The traitorous Dutch Skunk had his’s best chance of the half with a close range header that Wojciech Szczesny saved with his face, before Phil Jones was presented with another close range header which he somehow put over.
For all the good play Arsenal gifted United the equaliser, Bacary Sagna’s sloppy pass put van Persie through, he raced back then chopped down his former teammate inside the box. It was a nailed on penalty, and the Dutchman made no mistake from the spot to equalise as the teams went in level at the break.
Arsenal had the first chance of the 2nd half, after Sagna blocked a Nani shot, Rosicky came the length of the pitch, exchanged passes with Ramsey on the edge of the box and he curled a shot just wide with the outside of his right foot.
Van Persie then drilled a low cross which fizzed across the 6 yard box with Rooney sliding to get a touch, before Rafael fired a shot not too far over Szczesny’s top corner. Wayne Rooney then headed straight at the keeper from 6 yards out as United piled on the pressure and Arsenal struggled to match the intensity of their first half performance.
Sagna was lucky to escape a second yellow, sliding in on Evra but thankfully referee Phil Down played on, as Arsene Wenger brought on Jack Wilshere for Tomas Rosicky, and a short while later Gervinho for Podolski.
United looked most dangerous, threatening on the counter attack but Arsenal’s passing was poor, often putting themselves under needless pressure. United brought on Anderson for right back Rafael while Arsenal took off the hard-working Ramsey for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The visitors squandered chances down our right hand side, the quality of their final ball was lacking, and when Rooney did shoot from distance it was easy for Szczesny.
Santi Cazorla tested de Gea again with a shot from just outside the box that was going into the bottom corner, before Ryan Giggs almost won it after a clinical break. The old man’s shot was going in but for a timely deflection off the knee of Oxlade-Chamberlain.
In the end neither side could find a way through, a point might feel a bit disappointing but I think most would have taken that before the game.