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The BBC's Alan Green
"United were fortunate - Arsenal should have won"
 real 28k

Monday, 24 January, 2000, 22:35 GMT
Sheringham saves rusty Man Utd

Sheringham to the rescue for United yet again


Man Utd 1-1 Arsenal

Teddy Sheringham saved United's unbeaten home record this season as the home side returned from Brazil in lacklustre fashion.

The substitute's 73rd minute equaliser came on a night on which United came home after almost a month away due to the World Club Championship.

Fredik Ljungberg had given Arsenal an 11th-minute lead as Arsenal dominated the first hour of the match.


Match facts
5 mins: Bosnich denies Henry
11: Ljungberg beats Stam and then the keeper for 1-0
38: Henry denied by the Aussie keeper
45: Seaman denies Butt and Giggs fires wide
47: Irwin's goal-line clearance
66: Sheringham enters the fray
73: Sub taps in after Seaman's flap
But United ended looking fresher after a tough month for the visitors, who were taken to extra time and penalties in a bruising cup tie less than a week ago.

The result leaves both clubs three points behind Premiership leaders Leeds, but United have two games in hand on the Yorkshireman while the Gunners have played one game more.

Arsenal began with just one recognised striker, Henry, due to the absence of four first-choice forwards.

Visiting boss Arsene Wenger's solution was to dominate Roy Keane and colleagues in the middle of the pitch by weight of numbers.

The match started on United's fifth new pitch in 18 months, and in front of a record Premiership crowd of more than 58,000.

They were kept waiting because of a farcical delay as United keeper Mark Bosnich had to change a jersey which was the same colour as Arsenal's yellow away kit.


Ljungberg's joy could not last the 90 minutes
The Australian began the game in an off-white sweatshirt, but it did not affect his concentration as he was called into early action.

Stam cut out a through ball from Ljungberg to Henry, but the Swede robbed Gary Neville and crossed from the Arsenal left.

Henry charged in at the near post, but his flick was parried away to safety by Bosnich.

United responded as Cole beat Gilles Grimandi before shooting wide, but it was Arsenal who took the lead just a few seconds later.

Ljungberg was harrying the United defence at every opportunity, and Stam was hesitant as the Swede charged at the Dutchman.


Keown in control despite Cole's presence
The Arsenal man nicked the ball and surged past Stam to shoot under the advancing Mark Bosnich from the edge of the area.

The visitors were forced bring on Nigel Winterburn for the injured Silvinho, but it did not upset their control.

United clearly found it difficult to adapt to their return to domestic action in such a crucial game.

Yorke blazed over from five yards in the 27th minute, but it took a series of fierce exchanges between the two midfields to raise the volume in the stadium.

The defending champions responded to the atmosphere with a first period of sustained pressure on the half hour.

A Beckham cross was turned away by Seamen as Yorke threatened, and Dixon blocked on the line seconds later.


Ljungberg bravely heads past Stam before running on to score
But Arsenal were still in command, and in the 38th minute Henry wasted a one-on-one chance, as Bosnich and saved low to his left.

Gilles Grimandi was booked for a drag back on Yorke, and on the stroke of half time two United men failed to finish.

Nicky Butt was denied by a Seaman save before Ryan Giggs smashed the ball into the side netting.

The second half began with Bosnich in more conventional goalkeeper's kit, and back into the action.

A corner saw him come out and punch, although it was not the ball but Henry who bore the brunt of the challenge and United still had to clear off the line.

Once again the visitors blunted every one of United's talented performers with a superb display.


Dixon denies Giggs any room to work
United boss Alex Ferguson needed to change something, and brought on Sheringham for Cole midway through the half.

Within seconds the home performance was lifted, and Grimandi denied Keane's acrobatic volley and then Sheringham with a superb last ditch tackle.

But United were not to be denied, and fine work from Keane and Giggs engineered the equaliser.

The Irishman found the Welshman down the left, and Seaman could only flick the cross awat at full stretch to Butt.


Keane came into the game as Parlour tired late on
The midfielder coolly played it into the centre of the goal for Sheringham to tap into the empty net.

The setback appeared to deflate the visitors, who began to look tired after all their hard work.

United pressed in search of the winner, and when Ljungberg and Parlour had one chance on the break both were too fatigued to make the most of it as Keane made a saving challenge.

Stam looked much fresher after his break in Brazil, and after the Dutchman won a corner down the right Keane headed over with two minutes remaining.

Teams:

Man Utd: Bosnich, G. Neville, Stam, Silvestre, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Butt, Giggs, Cole, Yorke. Subs: Van Der Gouw, P. Neville, Berg, Solskjaer, Sheringham.

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Grimandi, Silvinho, Parlour, Vieira, Petit, Hughes, Ljungberg, Henry. Subs: Winterburn, Wreh, Manninger, Malz, Luzhny.

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset)

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See also:
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Gunners keep up the chase
13 Jan 00 |  World Club Championship
Man Utd could have stayed at home
11 Jan 00 |  World Club Championship
Fortune at double for Man Utd

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