By Walter Broeckx
A lot of changes compared with the team that beat QPR last Wednesday.
Szczesny came in the place of Ospina and Koscielny and Monreal came in the place of Gabriel and Monreal. Oxlade-Chamberlain came in the palce of Rosicky and up front Welbeck came in the place of Giroud.
The starting line up was :
Szczesny, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck. On the bench we had : Martinez, Gibbs, Chambers, Ramsey, Giroud, Walcott, Akpom.
Alexis with a first shot that is smothered and ends up with De Gea. Bellerin gets an early booking for a foul on Young that I missed. But nothing comes from the free kick as Welbeck heads it away. Some pressure from United but nothing really going dangerous in the direction of Szczesny. Lots of midfield play in the opening 15 minutes.
Arsenal then coming a bit more forward but a good run from Bellerin sees a deflection going off Blind but the ref and assistant award no corner. Fellaini then with a lay off to Young but his shot goes well over. The same can be said of an attempt from Oxlade-Chamberlain who hesitated between a shot and a cross and then you usually get nothing. Marcos Rojo stopping a great run from the Ox just outside the penalty area but the yellow card doesn’t come out this time.
Arsenal then with a good spell and moving the ball well from the left flank from Monreal to Özil who opens to the Ox who dribbles his was inside past 3 defenders and then gives it to Monreal who had followed up the attack and he finishes it as if he does it all day. 0-1 to The Arsenal after 26 minutes.
But the answer from United comes fast. Di Maria cuts inside and his cross goes just over Koscielny and finds Rooney completely free and he heads it past Szczesny. 1-1 after 28 minutes.
Welbeck goes in the penalty area and is pulled back just outside the penalty area but the ref lets it go. A minute later a header from Welbeck but De Gea can smother the ball. At the other side Szczesny has to catch a cross in two times. A foul from Herreira on Alexis earns him a yellow card. Two United players hack him down in fact. A good stop from Monreal before Di Maria can get dangerous and the follow up shot is easy for Szczesny. A long ball to Di Maria who has a shot from a tight angle but Szczesny with a good block. A free kick from Cazorla but De Gea can save it. A low shot from Fellaini but straight at Szczesny after he had kicked the ball not far enough just before. 1-1 was the score at half time after a slow start but an energetic last half hour.
Oxlade-Chamberlain after 3 minutes in the second half seemed to have pulled his hamstring. Ramsey comes in his place. The first real chance was when Cazorla got away with the ball to Alexis but his shot was stopped by the leg of Valencia and De Gea could catch the ball. Jones using his arm to take the ball away from Ramsey but the ref didn’t see it.
Fellaini making foul after foul after foul and finally getting a yellow card. Young then hacking Welbeck down and the card comes out again. The first 15 minutes of the second half a bit of a copy of the first half: not much football chances and just on the hour a shot from Di Maria that went wide. Again Szczesny not putting enough power behind a kick. On the other side a back pass from Valencia to De Gea but Welbeck can get just in between and nicks the ball away in front of the keeper and coolly finishes it the empty net. 1-2 to Arsenal after 62 minutes.
Cazorla was hacked down by Marcos Rojo the ref gave an advantage but it came to nothing. Bellerin making a foul on Yound and the crowd wants to see a second yellow. Rojo got his yellow card. A corner to Arsenal and the ball is put over the cross bar by Smalling. Chambers comes in for Bellerin who you could feel would get sent off on the next occasion. Clever move by Wenger. Fellaini with a header but Szczesny gathers the ball. United pressing forward now as could be expected.
A free kick from Alexis but De Gea can stop it easy. Giroud came on in the place of Welbeck. And immediately a big chance for Arsenal but De Gea with an amazing stop after a shot from Cazorla. A great cross from Alexis. Di Maria witha dive but the ref stood a few meters away and Di Maria is send off with a second yellow card? Or was it a straight red? The replay showed that Di Maria pushed the ref in the back after his yellow card. You cant touch the ref. Correct decision.
Januzai going past Monreal looking for the penalty but again the ref wants nothing of it and gives a yellow card. Another correct decision as could be seen in the replay! Cazorla with a tame shot when he was falling. Ramsey takes a card to stop Young going on a run.
Alexis on a counter but De Gea is first on the ball. Arsenal try to capitalise but Özil was judged to have used his hand. It was nail biting stuff of course and then a great counter Özil to Alexis but De Gea prevented the 1-3. A miserable last ball from United and Szczesny lets it run out.
And the match is over!!! Arsenal wins at Old Trafford after a match that was a great fighting performance. We might have killed them off after the 1-2 so now it stayed tense till the end. But Monreal and Welbeck the scorers finishing off a strong team performance!
WELL DONE BOYS!!!!!!!
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