Arsenal vs. Manchester United
Venue: The Emirates Stadium
Date: Sunday, 7 May 2017
Kick-off: 16:00 BST
Manchester United’s long unbeaten Premier League run came to an end after a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Second half goals from Granit Xhaka via a deflection and former United favourite Danny Welbeck secured the victory for the Gunners.
This loss was a massive dent to United’s top four ambitions, failing to make up ground on Liverpool who had dropped points earlier in the day.
Looking to build on his notable record against Arsenal, Wayne Rooney headed over from Juan Mata’s cross early on.
Rooney then slid a pass through to Anthony Martial who forced Petr Cech to turn the ball into the side netting.
David De Gea then produced a fine save low to his right to tip the ball behind from Aaron Ramsey’s shot across goal.
Captain Rooney then glanced a header wide from another Mata cross as Phil Jones did well to block Welbeck at the other end.
Another fine save from De Gea denied Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who struck a powerful drive from range as Rooney couldn’t finish from close range after Rob Holding and Laurent Koscielny’s mistake.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, after a pedestrian pace to proceedings, Xhaka’s strike from distance took a huge deflection off Ander Herrera to send the ball looping over De Gea.
No sooner was it one, it became two, as sloppy defending, failing to clear the lines from United, allowed Oxlade-Chamberlain to whip in a superb cross to which Welbeck headed home.
Perhaps a surprise he went for goal given the angle and range, Rooney’s free-kick was turned behind before Mata’s volley was blocked.
Looking for his second, Xhaka volleyed wide, as Rooney had time to measure his attempt but curled over and had an almost identical effort later on to equally no avail.
Substitute and debutant Scott McTominay’s first time strike was held from Chris Smalling’s knock down, but full-time brought about a disappointing afternoon for United in the capital.
This defeat was the first in the league since October, also in London, against Chelsea, ending a 25 match unbeaten streak, as Arsene Wenger secured his maiden competitive victory against Jose Mourinho at the 13th attempt.
After an even first half, the visitors improved slightly after the introduction of their personnel changes, but that 15 minutes after the interval, seemingly switching off, cost Mourinho’s side the game.
Having made eight alterations to Thursday’s Europa League line-up, it’s clear where the attention lies in the search for Champions League qualification.
The second leg against Celta Vigo at Old Trafford kicks-off at 8:05pm as United look to defend and hopefully build on their 1-0 aggregate lead and book their place in the final.
United: De Gea; Tuanzebe, Smalling, Jones, Darmian; Herrera (Rashford 63), Carrick; Mata (McTominay 85), Rooney, Mkhitaryan (Lingard 61); Martial.
Subs not used: Romero, Bailly, Blind, Pogba.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Arsenal: Cech; Holding, Koscielny, Monreal; Oxlade-Chamberlain (Bellerin 84), Ramsey, Xhaka (Coquelin 76), Gibbs; Ozil, Sanchez; Welbeck (Giroud 84).
Subs not used: Ospina, Gabriel, Walcott, Iwobi.
Manager: Arsene Wenger