Gunners rampant in opening 20-minutes
Arsenal picked up all three points this afternoon with an emphatic 3-0 victory over fierce-rivals Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium.
There was a lot of pressure on Arsene Wenger‘s shoulders going into the game after they fell to another Champions League defeat on Tuesday evening.
As expected, Petr Cech returned in goal for Arsenal, while Gabriel Paulista replaced injured Laurent Koscielny.
It was a familiar looking side for Louis van Gaal‘s men, with Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger at the heart of the midfield.
The game started at a quick pace as expected, with Arsenal enjoying most of the possession, and they only had to wait six minutes before they were celebrating.
A low Theo Walcott cross was turned in beautifully by Alexis Sanchez in the near post, making it four goals in two Premier League games for the Chilean.
A minute later and it was 2-0.
This time it was Walcott finding Mesut Ozil who then calmly slotted past the helpless David de Gea. Dreamland for the Gunners and the thousands in attendance.
The game was all-but over just 12-minutes later when Alexis doubled his tally for the afternoon with a thunderbolt from outside of the box.
Aaron Ramsey had a brilliant chance to make it 4-0 moments later, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
Anthony Martial could have given United a consolation right on the stroke of half-time, but Cech got down well and smothered his attempt.
The second half was a different story. Arsenal were very happy to sit back and soak up the pressure before trying to counter.
Schweinsteiger and Wayne Rooney came close for the Red Devils, before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hit the bar late on, but it remained 3-0 to the hosts.
The win puts Arsenal above United and into second on 16-points. As for United, they are third on the same amount of points.
Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, who provided two assists: “After the Olympiakos disappointment we started this game completely differently. We caught them on the break, we maybe eased off in the second half but the clean sheet was crucial for the whole team today.
“This game will send out a message to the Premier League that we are ready to have a go this season.”
Walcott speaking to Sky Sports: “There was a desire from kick-off, we looked very strong and were dominating at home against a big team and we should be playing like that every week. The players will be aching after that one, we worked so hard and rightly so.
“That was all for the manager.
“That first-half we were unbelievable, no-one could have dealt with us, it was the best football I have ever been involved in. It was the Arsenal of old.”
Arsene Wenger on Match of the Day: “We started strong and pressed very high.
“We did not give them any chances to score and that was vital. We surprised them with our start.
“From Petr Cech to Theo Walcott we only had superb performances. I have managed many strong teams and never had one that played 60 games at the same level. You have to accept that, we are human beings.”
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal speaking to Sky Sports: “When you start like that you can never win a game, we lost every duel, every second ball, not tight on their midfielder, and they can play they are a fantastic team when you let them give them that space it is difficult.
“That was the worse United have been under me, we were not able to give a normal performance.
“I have never seen that of my team, that is the question I put to my players. You can not solve that now, a lot of emotion and I am emotional as well.
“I could not change anything, if it was just one player then I can take measure but it was more than half of my team who were not doing what we had agreed in our game plan.
“I am shocked, you don’t expect it, we were top of the league, won last four matches and have to protect our position, possible against Arsenal. Way we had started, so without emotion. Not expect that, difficult to understand and will have to look for the reasons.”
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt