Manchester United emphatically dumped Arsenal out of the title race after clinically dispatching the home side in a 3-1 game that saw Nani finally show why he deserves to stay at Old Trafford after all these years.
The two sides were evenly matched in chances in an end to end game, but where Arsenal had no way to breach United’s defences (Rafael, Brown, Evans and Evra were excellent), United had Nani slice through the Arsenal defence with impunity in the first half to score one and create another before a sweeping counter-attacking move early in the second half led to a rare Park goal and the end of the game.
Arsenal – it’s worth pointing out – have now lost at home to Chelsea 3-0 and to Manchester United 3-1. They’ve also lost to United 2-1 away and play Chelsea soon at Stamford Bridge. Losing comprehensively to one of your title rivals is bad enough, but losing to both of them points to a gulf in quality. It’s definitely not playing quality because Arsenal’s passing and goal-scoring threat is right up there with the best in Europe. However, they’ve repeatedly failed to demonstrate the hunger and character that underlines Ferguson’s sides.
Arsenal could beat Chelsea and with United playing away to Villa, the title race is nowhere near done and dusted. But you feel that Chelsea hardly have anything to fear from Arsenal this season. United – still to host Chelsea, defending champions and doing their best impression of a beast that just refuses to die – are another matter entirely.
Arsenal 0-1 Manchester United (Nani)
Arsenal 0-2 Manchester United (Rooney)
Arsenal 0-3 Manchester United (Park)
Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United