Gunners, Man U share spoils

CityPress - - Sport -

Striker Olivier Giroud came off the bench to steal a late point for Arse­nal and hold Manch­ester United to a 1-all draw at Old Traf­ford in the Premier League yes­ter­day.

Juan Mata looked to have won the tie with his 68th minute strike, but Giroud had other ideas as he headed home in the 89th minute.

The hosts started brightly with An­der Her­rera turn­ing an early free­kick just wide of the Arse­nal goal.

Paul Pogba, look­ing sharp, broke down the right flank twice in the open­ing ex­changes, and both times whipped in good crosses, but the Gunners de­fence cleared the danger.

Fran­cis Co­quelin tried his luck with a vol­ley that he smashed well wide af­ter some good ap­proach play from Alexis Sánchez and Me­sut Özil.

United felt they should have had a 34th minute penalty af­ter Na­cho Mon­real ap­peared to up­end Pogba in the box, but the ref­eree waved play on.

With the Red Devils im­prov­ing with ev­ery minute, Mata forced a good save from Petr Čech, with his shot head­ing into the bot­tom right cor­ner of the net be­fore the Gunners stop­per got down to push it wide.

Čech then de­nied An­thony Mar­tial’s shot by tip­ping it over the cross­bar.

Mar­tial was again in the ac­tion at the start of the sec­ond half and he drove for­ward well, but failed get any real pur­chase on his shot that Čech saved with ease.

Mar­cus Rashford then had a 50thminute ef­fort blocked by Shko­dran Mustafi be­fore Michael Car­rick pulled his ef­fort from the edge of the area wide to the left of the tar­get.

Lau­rent Ko­scielny did well to get in front of Pogba mo­ments later to head clear a good Her­rera cross from the left be­fore Mata fi­nally broke the dead­lock on 68 min­utes.

An­to­nio Va­len­cia played a neat lit­tle ball for­ward to Her­rera, who got in be­hind the Arse­nal de­fence on the right flank be­fore cut­ting the ball back bril­liantly to the edge of the area, where Mata stroked home well into the far left cor­ner of the net.

Pogba then nearly got on the end of a good, low Wayne Rooney cross from the right be­fore Arsène Wenger re­placed Mo­hamed El­neny with Giroud as the clock struck 73 min­utes.

Sánchez over­hit his de­liv­ery from the left with Aaron Ram­sey and Theo Wal­cott both in good po­si­tions as Arse­nal be­gan to up the tempo.

Be­fore their killer blow, though, Mata nearly found Rooney with a cross from the right be­fore Mar­cos Rojo headed an­other good de­liv­ery from the Spa­niard, this time from the left, well wide of the goal as the Gunners held on for dear life.

With the game wind­ing down, and the United fans al­ready cel­e­brat­ing an­other win over the Gunners, Giroud popped up in the dy­ing sec­onds to latch on to fel­low sub­sti­tute Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain’s cross at the back post, and power home a header past the de­spair­ing David de Gea to give Arse­nal a share of the spoils.

PHOTO: MATTHEW PETERS / MAN UTD VIA GETTY IMAGES

LATE POINT An­der Her­rera of Manch­ester United gets into ac­tion with Fran­cis Co­quelin of Arse­nal at Old Traf­ford. It was sub­sti­tute Olivier Giroud who pow­ered home a header to give Arse­nal some re­lief af­ter the Gunners were trail­ing from the 68th minute

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