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Barclays Premier League

Emirates Stadium (ATT 60,093) 22nd January 2012 - Kick off 16:00 Ref: M Dean

Arsenal Arsenal vs Manchester United Man Utd

Arsenal 1

R van Persie (71)

ft

Man Utd 2

A Valencia (45+1)
D Welbeck (81)

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Welbeck winner sinks Gunners

Red Devils keep pressure on City with victory in North London

Last Updated: 22/01/12 6:31pm

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Danny Welbeck grabbed a late winner for Manchester United to down Arsenal 2-1 at Emirates Stadium and keep their Premier League title chase on course.

Man of the match Antonio Valencia gets the nod from us after coolly firing home the opener before playing creator to set up Danny Welbeck's winner. An honourable mention goes to Patrice Evra for a particularly eye-catching shift. Gaffe of the match Robin van Persie's uncharacteristic miss from Tomas Rosicky's well-placed pass seemed to stun the striker as much as the home faithful, but he soon atoned for his blunder with Arsenal's equaliser. Goal of the match Welbeck's winner in the 81st minute came after some neat build-up from United in the box, with Valencia playing a crucial role. Worry of the match Phil Jones was stretchered off early on for United after only just making his return from injury and Sir Alex Ferguson will be sweating over the young defender making a recovery. Talking point United proved once again they are capable of getting results when it counts. Can they overthrow City at the top of the table?

Leaders Manchester City had beaten Tottenham earlier on Sunday to pile pressure on Sir Alex Ferguson's men heading into the North London encounter.

The Red Devils came through the test with flying colours, going ahead on the stroke of half-time through Antonio Valencia after he nodded home a tidy Ryan Giggs cross.

Prolific Gunners captain Robin van Persie pulled the hosts level 20 minutes from time, netting a superb pass from teenage winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who enjoyed an impressive afternoon on his first Premier League start.

But Welbeck saved the day for United in the 81st minute after Valencia turned provider, allowing the young striker to slot home from close range.

Title challenge

The game was not a patch on City's 3-2 win over Tottenham in terms of entertainment and quality, but Sir Alex Ferguson will be happy to have ground out another win which further proves he still has the know-how to formulate a title challenging team at the grand old age of 70.

Both Ferguson and Arsene Wenger had predicted a cagey encounter and the first 10 minutes suggested they were right to do so.

Jonny Evans cleared an Oxlade-Chamberlain cross and Anders Lindegaard easily gathered a shot from Aaron Ramsey.

Theo Walcott embarrassed Phil Jones with his quick feet, causing the defender to trip up and hit the deck and he had to come off for Rafael after just 15 minutes.

Per Mertesacker and Johan Djourou cleared dangerous United crosses and Valencia just failed to tap home a flick-on.

Giggs tested Wojciech Szczesny at his near post from a tight angle.

Oxlade-Chamberlain bamboozled Patrice Evra to sneak in to the United box and laid off to Walcott, but he blazed over from 18 yards.

Evra then easily beat Alex Song down the left and crossed for Nani but Szczesny saved.

Giggs played Wayne Rooney into the box and the striker went down after appearing to have his arm pulled by Song but Mike Dean waved play on.

The ability of United's wingers to skip past makeshift full-backs Vermaelen and Djourou was a particular source of frustration for the home support.

Nani easily beat the Swiss and whistled a sharp ball across the box.

In the opening minute of first half injury time Giggs was given space down the left flank and he floated a cross over to the back post where Valencia beat Vermaelen in the air to nod home.

Arsenal went off at half-time to a chorus of boos and Wenger, clearly unimpressed by Djourou's contribution, replaced the defender with 18-year-old Nico Yennaris who was making his league debut.

Van Persie was presented with an easy chance five minutes after the break when Tomas Rosicky pinched the ball off Chris Smalling and squared for him but he fired wide from 10 yards with the goal gaping.

Van Persie then tricked his way past three United defenders and squared for Rosicky but his drive was blocked by Evra.

Laurent Koscielny burst in to the United half and laid the ball off to Oxlade-Chamberlain but his drive flew barely an inch wide.

Welbeck raced through after a headed clearance from the United back line and slipped the ball past the advancing Szczesny only to see his goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Per Mertesacker.

The striker fell in the challenge from Arsenal's goalkeeper, but despite United's protestations, Dean did not pull play back for a penalty.

Then with 20 minutes to go, Arsenal stunned the visitors with an equaliser.

The Gunners broke through Oxlade-Chamberlain who squared for Van Persie and his reverse shot flew through Evans' legs and in off the post.

Fury

Arsenal fans reacted with fury when Wenger brought Oxlade-Chamberlain off two minutes later for Andrey Arshavin.

Nani hobbled off and was replaced by Paul Scholes after being injured in a tackle and Ferguson sacrificed substitute Rafael for Park Ji-sung.

The Emirates Stadium was shocked in to near silence with nine minutes left after Welbeck put the Red Devils ahead.

Valencia lost his marker Arshavin and played a clever one-two with Park before squaring to Welbeck, who bundled home from close range.

Van Persie flung himself towards a header in injury time but United cleared and Evans calmly guided Mertesacker's header in to Lindegaard's arms soon after as the visitors clung on for a vital win.

ArsenalTeam StatisticsManchester United
1Goals2
01st Half Goals1
3Shots on Target6
7Shots off Target3
4Blocked Shots0
0Corners5
15Fouls6
0Offsides4
5Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
79.5Passing Success79.8
31Tackles23
74.2Tackles Success73.9
48.7Possession51.3
51Territorial Advantage49
420Total Passes435
20Total Crosses25
158Lost Balls172
60Recoveries63
46.51st Half Poss.53.5
52.62nd Half Poss.47.4

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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 12 32
2 Southampton 12 26
3 Manchester City 12 24
4 Manchester United 12 19
5 Newcastle United 12 19
6 West Ham United 12 18
7 Swansea City 12 18
8 Arsenal 12 17
9 Everton 12 17
10 Tottenham Hotspur 12 17
11 Stoke City 12 15
12 Liverpool 12 14
13 West Bromwich Albion 12 13
14 Sunderland 12 13
15 Crystal Palace 12 12
16 Aston Villa 12 12
17 Hull City 12 11
18 Leicester City 12 10
19 Burnley 12 10
20 Queens Park Rangers 12 8

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