With Arsenal beating Manchester United, they have kept the door of opportunity open for yet another week, but with Chelsea beating Tottenham, albeit with some measure of luck, they have leapfrogged Arsenal and are now United’s biggest rival to the title.
If Chelsea can beat United, though it will help Arsenal, it most certainly helps Chelsea.
The game between Arsenal and United saw both teams have a call for a penalty turned away. Vidic seemed to handle the ball to keep van Persie away from headering it, but only he and Vidic seemed to know that. van Persie ran to the referees assistant, but to no avail. United call for a penalty thought was much more evident, with Clichy raking the back of Owen’s calf, prompting Owen to go down, but the referee didn’t give it. Either he was unable to see it or decided to level it up with not given Arsenal one, so didn’t give that one either.
Wilshere had a great chance to open the scoring when a poor clearance by Vidic landed at his feet, his shot was wide. Walcott also came close when Clichy put in a great low cross into the six yard box, but the stretching Walcott couldn’t connect with it as well as he would liked and it went over. Walcott was causing problems but Evra was able to deal with him. Wilshere has dribbled forward and put in a low hard shot across goal, but became more of a cross as it wasnt on target but Patrice Evra had to slide and conceded a corner, otherwise Walcott would have scored. The resulting corner was headed away and nothing came of it. Manchester United seemed happy to sit back and soak up the pressure Arsenal were delivering and looking to hit on the counter attack, but Alex Song did well to nullify Rooney and it was Arsenal that were enjoying the possession and enjoying going on the attack. Koscielny headed the ball out and Nasri turned beautifully to lose his marker and laid it off for Wilshere who continued the move dribbling forward but as he played it ahead of him Vidic cynically took him out on the edge of the area, but referee Chris Foy gave nothing. He may have deemed that Wilshere had played the ball too far ahead and would of been unable to regain possession anyway.
Ramsey also looked bright and he and Wilshere linked up well and were allowed to more forward as Song kept his position in midfield brilliantly. United did have a good chance when Nani went on the attack and played in the venturing Fabio with a nice ball into the box for Fabio to run onto. He skipped past Koscielny with a nice touch., and with Hernandez in buzzing around in the box, he looked for an early ball, but Fabio seemed to hesitate with the final pass and in the end Arsenal could clear for a corner. It was not long before Arsenal were on the attack again, and with Walcott delivering a nice cross into the box Vidic seemed to have headed clear denying van Persie, but van Persie ran over to the referee assistant and was adamant it was a handball, replays showed it was but it was too hard to see in game play.
The second half saw Arshavin come on for Samir Nasri. Wayne Rooney came close to scoring from a freekick, but Szczesny did well to save diving across goal, and batting it away. As the game went on Arsenal kept on their attacking football, and Sagna cut in and took a shot, but it whizzed just wide, but Arsenal fans will be happy to see shots go wide, as they are always happy to see any kind of shot from outside of the box, especially at the Emirates. Ramsey had a nice run when he collected Song’s pass, but after running the ball into United box Vidic got the tackle in that was needed to stall his attack. Nani delivered a brilliant cross and one that almost created a goal but Hernandez who lost his marking came running in and jumped for the header but missed it and the ball landed into Szczesny’s arms. Arsenal did take the lead on the 55th minute when Aaron Ramsey scored. The move started when Song blocked Vidic’s long clearance and it fell to Ramsey who played it down the line to van Pesrie, van Persie dribbled forward but held up play for Arsenal to rush the penalty box and with three Arsenal players, Yes three, all in and around the six yard box there was Ramsey on the edge of the box with his arms spread out calling for the ball. van Perise pulled it back for him and with a right footed shot gave Arsenal the lead. It was great to see Aaron Ramsey have such a good game today, and it was great for him to score on his first game at the Emirates since his leg break last season.
When Hernandez came off for Berbatov, Arsenal fans may have felt a little reassured of the win, as Berbatov seems to have cooled in form in recent weeks, where as Hernandez has been red hot. Rooney again tried his luck with a freekick, and again Szczesny was there to save, but this time it was a simple catch. As the game started to near to the end United started to attack more, and Rooney plaid in Nani, who shot but straight at Szczesny. Michael Owen was brought on for Carrick, with Ferguson hoping the veteran goal scorer could grab an equalizer against a team he has scored against more than once in the past. Arshavin seemed to be more up for this game, more than he has been in recent weeks, but i don’t know if it was enough to chance the minds of many of the Arsenal faithful of his performances this season. United had their penalty claim when Rooney chipped the ball up and over for Owen, but Clichy had raked his calf, and Owen went down, but the referee gave nothing and in the end the game ended 1-0 to Arsenal.