By Walter Broeckx
The team at the start : Opsina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud.
On the bench: Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Rosicky, Wilshere, Walcott.
Both teams looking to attack but apart from a shot from Young from far that went well over no real goal mouth scenes in the opening minutes. Both teams also building in some safety when put under pressure. Koscielny with a much needed block on Falcao resulting in a few United corners and United pressing more forward. When Coquelin tripped Mata ref Dean gave a free kick but Ospina made comfortable save. Arsenal not really getting some attacks together around the 15 minutes mark.
Jones falling on the floor almost gave a chance to Giroud but Jones could just do enough with his head on the floor to force Giroud to a too heavy touch. Fellelbow hitting Mertesacker, Dean giving a foul but no card. Jones again almost causing trouble at the back for United when he almost passes the ball out of the reach of De Gea but he can just kick it away. But on the other side of the field Young with a cross that goes over Monreal who had crept inside to help stop Fellaini and Ander Herrera has a free shot on goal and scores for United. 1-0 after half an hour.
Young again with a dangerous run but now his cross finds no United player. Özil tries to play it to Giroud but he didn’t expect the pass. Mata getting away but Falcao clearly pushed Koscielny as he tried to go for the header and Dean rightfully gave the foul to Arsenal not that it would have been a goal as Ospina had stopped the bal. Arsenal getting a free kick from the left flank, the ball didn’t fall kindly for an Arsenal player and United could clear.
Fellaini going down easily with Coquelin in his back but Dean gives the free kick to United and a well worked free kick sees Blind taking a shot but Smalling stopping the effort that looked to go wide. Arsenal looking tired in the first half with not much energy going forward. Maybe giving a few fresh players some playing time would be an option? Or will Wenger do this against Sunderland?
Fellaini almost on the end of a Valencia cross in the opening minutes of the second half but the ball ends up to Koscielny who can clear. Young with a bad cross straight at Ospina when he could have done better. Finally a bit better build up play when Ramsey heads the ball to Alexis but his left foot shot goes terribly wide. Arsenal forcing a second corner but Smalling can clear. United being called back twice for offside and Arsenal now being a bit more better going forward. Ramsey finds Özil but his header finds no Arsenal team mate.
Finally a great attack from Arsenal. Ramsey to Özil who gives it to Giroud who can work himself past Rojo but he then had to stretch too much and De Gea can block his effort. Alexis then to Ramsey but Rojo can just put his foot to it and gives a corner away. Giroud had his shirt almost pulled over his head by Smalling but Dean thinks that is allowed? That was a nailed on penalty mr. Dean. Young then can break but Bellerin show his pace and can stop him.
Cazorla with a great ball to Ramsey who lobs it over De Gea but Rojo can clear in front of the open goal. After 71 minutes Arsenal make a double substitution Bellerin goes off and Theo comes in his place and Wilshere comes on and Cazorla goes off. For United De Gea has to leave the field with an injury. Taking an awful lot of time before the game can restart.
Coquelin movest to right back I think for the rest of the match. Young with a dangerous run but Mertesacker can stop his run at the expense of a corner.
A long ball from Ramsey to Walcott bot take on Blackett and the touch from Blackett takes the ball out of reach of Valdez and Arsenal equalise! 1-1 after 82 minutes. Özil with a low cros but the shot from Giroud goes just in the side net. Seconds later Giroud with another chance but his shot rebounds wide. At the other end Van Persie fires over from around the penalty spot with his right foot. Alexis with a attempted curler but Valdez knew what was coming. Flamini came on in the place of Alexis in the last minute of normal time. A draw would secure third place almost for 99% certain for Arsenal.
Herrera gettin a yellow card for stopping an Arsenal counter was the last thing worth mentioning. But so it ends at 1-1 at Old Trafford. A golden point that means that we only need one point from our remaining two home fixtures to avoid the CL play offs. Second looks impossible unless Southampton pull of something special at Manchester City next week.
Dean should have given us a penalty when Smalling was undressing Giroud but we have seen worse Dean performances at Old Trafford in the past where he screwed us over on more than one occassion. Deserved on the balance of the whole match. United better in the first half and Arsenal better in the second half. Both teams deserving a point for their effort so I think the final result is the correct one.