Manchester United will be the happier out of the two sides as they left the Emirates Stadium with a point after they held Arsenal to a 0-0 draw.
The game failed to live up to the pre-match hype, and the result does neither team any favours as Arsenal stay second, and United’s top-four hopes take an even bigger hit.
It was the visitors that nearly took the lead after Mikel Arteta was caught napping on the ball, but after Robin Van Persie found his way into the box, his shot was smartly saved by Wojciech Szczesny, who later went on to make one of the saves of the season to stop the Dutchman again.
Soon after Van Persie’s miss, it was Olivier Giroud’s time to miss a golden chance as he was left unmarked from a corner, but his header flew past the far-post.
A couple of half-chances then fell to both teams, but at the interval it was 0-0 and both sides failed to create anything in the final third.
The second-half was very similar to the first, sloppy in possession from both teams, and the goalkeepers denying anything that came their way.
The lead was nearly found by the hosts early in the second-half as Laurent Koscielny’s header from a corner looked destined for the back of the net, until winger Antonio Valencia leaped high to clear it off the line.
With Arsene Wenger’s men pushing for a winner, it was their old-man Van Persie that nearly stole the three points as he peeled away from the defenders and sent the ball flying towards goal, only to see Szczesny deny him with a breathtaking save.
Watching his opponent’s heroics from the other end, David De Gea also wanted part of the limelight, and he did well to deny Santi Cazorla twice late on.
So the draw leaves Arsenal one point behind league leaders Chelsea, and it leaves United 11 points off fourth placed Liverpool.
Here is some match reaction from after the game.
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny: “We did not take our opportunities today, which is disappointing. It is a positive to get a clean sheet after conceding five goals.
“I tried to react to Robin van Persie’s effort. He did not score a lot of headers at Emirates Stadium, so I wanted that to continue.
“[Talking about the title race] It will be really tight. A lot of teams are very close to each other at the top.
“We are confident going into the last few games. If we show our character, we can do it.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “Overall, we could have won it. It was a game of few chances.
“Our defensive focus was extreme as we conceded so many goals on Saturday. In the end either side could have won 1-0.
“Manchester United are a good team, so when you go forward they can catch you.
“It is important to recover physically and prepare for the next game. We want to stay in the FA Cup.
“The title race is absolutely open for many teams.”
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick: “We can take a lot from the game. Our shape was good, David de Gea had to make some saves but we had some good chances ourselves.
“It is not a bad draw, but we came here to win. You have to respect Arsenal, as a point is not too bad.
“We have not stopped believing, we believe we will get better. We have to start showing it.
“[On reaching the Champions League places] It is going to be tough as there is a lot of points there. We will take it game-by-game, and go on a run and play well and see where it takes us.”
Manchester United manager David Moyes: “I am pleased, but I wanted all three points. Arsenal are having a great season, so it is not a bad draw for us.
“The way my luck was going I expected Mesut Ozil to score with a free-kick at the end. I am quite pleased with a lot of things we did.
“Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand were very good. They showed all their experience.
“I do not like talking about luck. But you hope it turns around.
“The last couple of games we have had Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie back. The record with the two of them has been very good.
“We have a lot of catching up to do. We have to win games and keep plugging away.”
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt – @AlexsArticles