Arsenal 2 Manchester United 0: Aubameyang on the spot as Gunners strike huge top-four blow

Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended Manchester United's 100 per cent away record under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Manchester United

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after scoring against Manchester United   -  Getty Images

Arsenal struck a potentially significant blow in the race for the Premier League top four with a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

A Granit Xhaka strike and a second-half penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed from the spot in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham last week, gave the Gunners three valuable points that lift them into fourth.

AS IT HAPPENED

The result also ends United's nine-game winning run away from home under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, just four days on from their dramatic Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

Arsenal started positively but should have been behind nine minutes in, when Romelu Lukaku steered Luke Shaw's low cross against the crossbar from six yards out.

The Gunners punished that miss three minutes later, when Xhaka's swerving strike from 25 yards out completely bamboozled David de Gea and nestled into the left-hand corner.

Fred struck the base of the post as United sought a quick response, and both Marcus Rashford and Lukaku should have done better after finding space inside the penalty area.

Lukaku was denied by a good Bernd Leno save when Rashford picked him out with a clever pass, and the German was out again to smother the ball at the feet of the England striker as United's pressure grew.

Arsenal made the most of those missed opportunities 21 minutes from time, when Aubameyang sent De Gea the wrong way from the penalty spot after Alexandre Lacazette went to ground under minimal contact from Fred.

What does it mean? Advantage Arsenal in the top-four chase

The Gunners have now moved two points above United into fourth place, just one behind Tottenham in third, with only eight matches left to play.

With Chelsea drawing at home to Wolves earlier, Unai Emery's men now have the edge in a race for the Champions League spots that is getting seriously interesting.

For United, its winning run under Solskjaer ends in a game where, for once, he seemed to hinder his side with his selection.

Leno outshines De Gea

Leno made three good saves and a couple of timely interceptions just when United's pressure was building. For once, De Gea was outshone at the Emirates.

Solskjaer, at last, gets it wrong

Starting with Pogba wide left made him ineffective early on, and by the time Solskjaer switched up the system, United was chasing the game.

Key Opta Facts

- Arsenal has won 12 points from its 10 games against fellow 'big six' sides in the Premier League this season, double the amount it won in such games last term.
- United suffered its first Premier League defeat under Solskjaer (W10 D2 L1).
- Arsenal has won its last nine Premier League home games, its joint-longest winning run at Emirates Stadium within a single season (also nine in 2014-15).
- United failed to score for the first time in 22 away games in all competitions this season, last failing to find the net on the road in May 2018 at West Ham.
- Six of Xhaka's seven Premier League goals for Arsenal have come from outside the box, including both of his strikes against United.

What's next?

Arsenal faces Rennes on Thursday in its last match before the international break. United meets Wolves in next Saturday's FA Cup quarterfinal.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos