|Van Persie 71||Valencia 45+1|
Manchester United maintained the pressure on rivals Man City by collecting a hard fought 2-1 win from Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on the late afternoon of Sunday 22nd January 2012.
United took the lead in first half stoppage time, after a fairly subdued opening 45 minutes, after Antonion Valencia headed hom a Ryan Giggs cross on 45+1.
In the second half, however, Arsenal came back into the match strongly, and looked the better of the two sides for some time before Robin van Persie added what is fast becoming a customary goal on 71 minutes with a neat finish between Lindegaard and the United goalkeeper’s near post.
With 20 minutes remaining, it appeared on a knife edge, as Arsenal had been offering some hope to United with defensive indecision.
However, it was to be a moment of pure brilliance from Valencia, who stole the show in this match, as the United wide man put in a beautiful ball following some excellent football – Danny Welbeck took his chance well on 81 minutes to finish Valencia’s delightful delivery as it deserved.
United then played out the remaining 15 minutes – including 5 minutes of stoppage time – without too many problems to return from London with three points which keeps them in touch with Manchester City, who picked up a last-gasp win at home to Tottenham earlier today.
Arsenal remain in 5th place, but they are five points adrift of Chelsea, who are fourth. Newcastle are level with the Gunners on points, and they sit only one point ahead of Liverpool, meaning Arsenal must start picking up results if they are to build on their current league position.
For United, it was business as usual – an average performance which resulted in a victory as a result of individual brilliance from one of their superstars, this time, it was Antonio Valencia who proved to be the difference.