Gunners, Man U share spoils
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.
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