BBC Sport football

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 18:08 GMT, Sunday, 31 January 2010

Arsenal   1 - 3   Man Utd

nani and Wayne Rooney celebrate for Manchester United
Nani and Wayne Rooney combined superbly in a blistering attacking display

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at the Emirates

Manchester United outclassed Arsenal at the Emirates to maintain the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea - and brutally expose Arsene Wenger's title ambitions.

Sir Alex Ferguson's champions unleashed a devastating display of sweeping, counter-attacking football inspired by the brilliance of Wayne Rooney and Nani.

Wenger had outlined the importance of the meeting with United in the context of the battle to win the Premier League, and by the final whistle saw his hopes placed in painful perspective by a masterful United.

FOOTBALL BLOG
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

United now stand only one point behind Chelsea having played a game more, but the manner of this victory will send out the message that no-one will find it easy to wrest the title away from Ferguson's side.

Nani, so long a figure of frustration at Old Trafford, has rarely performed with more threat and finesse than he did in the first 45 minutes here as he ran Gael Clichy ragged and ensured United had established a two-goal lead by the interval.

He baffled Arsenal with a stunning piece of trickery that forced uncertain Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia to turn his cross into his own net after 33 minutes and then set up Rooney's 100th Premier League goal four minutes later.

Best performance of the season - Rooney

United caught Arsenal cold as they turned defence into attack, Rooney sprinting from just outside his own area to take a return pass from Park and finish in style.

Ji-Sung Park graphically illustrated the gulf between Arsenal and United just after half-time when he took advantage of a path lack of resistance to run unchallenged from inside his own half to beat Almunia.

Thomas Vermaelen's deflected shot late on set up an Arsenal rally of sorts, but the scoreline barely reflects United's superiority as they gave the Gunners a painful lesson in ruthless, cutting edge football.

United boss Ferguson opted for Nani ahead of £15m summer signing Antonio Valencia - and the success of the decision was probably beyond all his expectations as the Portuguese winger tortured Arsenal.

Andrey Arshavin offered early optimism for Arsenal's fans with a couple of trademark twisting runs and shots off target - but they turned out to be a false dawn as United soon moved into a different class to Arsenal.

The belief is there - Phelan

William Gallas needed to make timely interventions as United's crisp passing threatened to carve United open, with Nani the primary source of danger as he proved simply too fast and too clever for Clichy.

And when Nani helped fashion United's opener after 33 minutes, it was the signal for a blistering passage of play that saw Arsenal's hopes of getting anything from such a crucial game disintegrate.

Nani tricked his way past Cesc Fabregas into the area with sleight of foot worthy of his celebrated former United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, although Almunia should have done a lot better than palm the ball in with a feeble attempt at clearance.

United topped that for quality four minutes later with a goal that, for Arsenal, bore the grim hallmarks of Ronaldo's third goal in the Champions League semi-final second leg at The Emirates last season.

Arsenal were not in the game - Wenger

Rooney, not far from the edge of his own penalty area, released the rampaging Nani down the right-flank, and arrived at the other end of the pitch on cue to drill a low finish past Almunia and send Ferguson out of his technical area and along the touchline in sheer delight.

Nani should have made it three when Rooney found him unmarked at the far post, but his goalbound shot took a crucial touch of Vermaelen that went undetected by referee Chris Foy and flew wide.

If Arsenal had any hope of mounting a fightback they were emphatically snuffed out seven minutes after the interval in a manner that would have been as embarrassing for Wenger as it was satisfying for Ferguson.

606: DEBATE
MUFC 1902

Park ran from just inside his own half, free from any Arsenal challenge, and accepted what was almost an open invitation to slip the simplest of finishes past the exposed Almunia.

Vermaelen gave the discontented Arsenal fans a moment of cheer after 80 minutes when his shot was deflected out of the reach of Edwin van der Sar by Jonny Evans - and there were even further opportunities to set up the unlikely prospect of a thrilling finale.

Gallas headed wide of an open goal and Vermaelen saw a shot blocked by Patrice Evra, but Rooney displayed a rare moment of fallibility by wasting the opportunity to give the score a more realistic appearance, shooting wide in stoppage time.

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd FT
(HT 0-2)
  • Vermaelen 80
  • Almunia (og) 33
  • Rooney 37
  • Park Ji-Sung 52

Arsenal

Substitutes

Man Utd

Substitutes

Ref: FoyAtt: 60,091
ARSENAL
MAN UTD

Possession

  • Arsenal 48%
  • Man Utd 52%

Attempts on target

  • Arsenal 7
  • Man Utd 5

Attempts off target

  • Arsenal 11
  • Man Utd 6

Corners

  • Arsenal 8
  • Man Utd 5

Fouls

  • Arsenal 9
  • Man Utd 12
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+5:04 The match has reached full-time.
  • 90:00+4:43 Foul by Antonio Valencia on Alexandre Song Billong, free kick awarded. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
  • 90:00+3:38 Wayne Rooney produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 90:00+2:13 Andrey Arshavin gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rafael Da Silva. Darren Fletcher restarts play with the free kick.
  • 90:00+0:36 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Antonio Valencia by Andrey Arshavin. Direct free kick taken by Wes Brown.
  • 89:29 William Gallas produces a headed effort from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
  • 88:29 Substitution Luis Nani goes off and Dimitar Berbatov comes on.
  • 88:09 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Blocked by Rafael Da Silva.
  • 87:51 Short corner worked by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 86:53 Luis Nani crosses the ball.
  • 86:03 Inswinging corner taken by Ryan Giggs.
  • 86:03 Substitution Antonio Valencia on for Ji-Sung Park.
  • 85:02 Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the left by-line, Thomas Vermaelen takes a shot. Blocked by Patrice Evra.
  • 83:46 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Ryan Giggs.
  • 82:16 Effort on goal by Luis Nani from outside the box goes harmlessly over the bar.
  • 81:20 Francesc Fabregas takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Theo Walcott takes a shot. Blocked by Jonathan Evans.
  • 79:05 GOAL - Thomas VermaelenArsenal 1 - 3 Man Utd Thomas Vermaelen finds the back of the net with a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd.
  • 78:51 Andrey Arshavin fouled by Wes Brown, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 75:33 Gael Clichy sends in a cross, Headed effort from the edge of the area by Nicklas Bendtner goes wide of the right-hand post.
  • 74:29 Shot by Wayne Rooney from deep inside the penalty area misses wide to the left of the target.
  • 73:23 Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas played to the near post, clearance made by Luis Nani.
  • 71:19 Substitution Bacary Sagna goes off and Nicklas Bendtner comes on.
  • 70:59 Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Emmanuel Eboue coming on for Tomas Rosicky.
  • 70:29 Substitution Ryan Giggs on for Paul Scholes.
  • 69:32 Wayne Rooney crosses the ball, clearance by Thomas Vermaelen.
  • 69:15 Francesc Fabregas sends in a cross.
  • 68:48 Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Patrice Evra.
  • 68:22 The ball is sent over by Wayne Rooney.
  • 67:17 Free kick awarded for a foul by Paul Scholes on Andrey Arshavin. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 67:02 Jonathan Evans challenges Andrey Arshavin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Bacary Sagna.
  • 65:24 Centre by Luis Nani, save by Manuel Almunia.
  • 65:00 Foul by Samir Nasri on Jonathan Evans, free kick awarded. Jonathan Evans takes the free kick.
  • 63:31 Effort from the edge of the area by Francesc Fabregas goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 63:08 Bacary Sagna decides to take the corner short.
  • 62:48 Luis Nani concedes a free kick for a foul on Alexandre Song Billong. Andrey Arshavin takes the direct free kick.
  • 60:21 Substitution Theo Walcott is brought on as a substitute for Neves Denilson.
  • 59:19 Effort from the edge of the box by Alexandre Song Billong goes wide of the left-hand upright.
  • 58:10 Corner taken right-footed by Luis Nani, save made by Manuel Almunia.
  • 57:06 Alexandre Song Billong takes a shot. Edwin Van der Sar makes a save.
  • 56:00 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Save by Edwin Van der Sar.
  • 55:40 Wes Brown challenges Francesc Fabregas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Alexandre Song Billong.
  • 53:50 Effort on goal by Francesc Fabregas from outside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the bar.
  • 51:32 Assist by Michael Carrick.
  • 51:32 GOAL - Ji-Sung ParkArsenal 0 - 3 Man Utd Ji-Sung Park finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Arsenal 0-3 Man Utd.
  • 50:50 Free kick awarded for a foul by Rafael Da Silva on Andrey Arshavin. Gael Clichy restarts play with the free kick.
  • 49:09 Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Manuel Almunia makes a save.
  • 48:10 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Luis Nani.
  • 46:06 Gael Clichy crosses the ball, Edwin Van der Sar makes a save.
  • 45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+2:02 The ref blows to signal half-time.
  • 45:00+1:06 Alexandre Song Billong has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the goal.
  • 44:56 Michael Carrick has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
  • 43:42 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Edwin Van der Sar by Andrey Arshavin. Edwin Van der Sar takes the free kick.
  • 42:34 Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the left by-line, save by Edwin Van der Sar.
  • 40:14 Luis Nani produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 38:41 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Darren Fletcher by Alexandre Song Billong. Free kick taken by Michael Carrick.
  • 37:38 Effort from deep inside the area by Andrey Arshavin misses to the right of the target.
  • 36:22 Assist on the goal came from Luis Nani.
  • 36:22 GOAL - Wayne RooneyArsenal 0 - 2 Man Utd Wayne Rooney fires in a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Arsenal 0-2 Man Utd.
  • 36:00 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Blocked by Patrice Evra.
  • 35:46 Short corner worked by Tomas Rosicky.
  • 34:23 Alexandre Song Billong fouled by Paul Scholes, the ref awards a free kick. Bacary Sagna takes the direct free kick.
  • 32:44 The ball is crossed by Luis Nani.
  • 32:35 Assist on the goal came from Luis Nani.
  • 32:09 GOAL - Manuel AlmuniaArsenal 0 - 1 Man Utd Manuel Almunia concedes an own goal. Arsenal 0-1 Man Utd.
  • Correction - 32:08 The ball is sent over by Luis Nani.
  • 29:44 Unfair challenge on Ji-Sung Park by Bacary Sagna results in a free kick. Edwin Van der Sar takes the free kick.
  • 28:24 Luis Nani takes a shot. Manuel Almunia makes a save.
  • 27:47 Jonathan Evans fouled by Andrey Arshavin, the ref awards a free kick. Jonathan Evans restarts play with the free kick.
  • 27:18 Effort on goal by Luis Nani from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.
  • 26:17 Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save by Manuel Almunia.
  • 23:50 William Gallas takes a long range shot clearing the bar.
  • 21:22 Free kick awarded for a foul by Patrice Evra on Francesc Fabregas. Free kick crossed right-footed by Francesc Fabregas from right channel.
  • 18:21 Unfair challenge on Andrey Arshavin by Jonathan Evans results in a free kick. Francesc Fabregas restarts play with the free kick.
  • 17:56 Luis Nani gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gael Clichy. Direct free kick taken by Alexandre Song Billong.
  • 16:03 Wes Brown takes the free kick.
  • 16:03 Booking Alexandre Song Billong is shown a yellow card.
  • 15:49 Free kick awarded for a foul by Alexandre Song Billong on Luis Nani.
  • 14:40 Bacary Sagna gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ji-Sung Park. Paul Scholes takes the direct free kick.
  • 14:00 Samir Nasri produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target.
  • 12:42 Effort from deep inside the area by Andrey Arshavin misses to the right of the goal.
  • 8:27 The ball is crossed by Luis Nani, save made by Manuel Almunia.
  • 7:34 Luis Nani takes a inswinging corner.
  • 5:16 Patrice Evra challenges Tomas Rosicky unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Bacary Sagna.
  • 3:22 Samir Nasri delivers the ball.
  • 2:33 Effort from deep inside the area by Andrey Arshavin misses to the right of the goal.
  • 0:00 The game kicks-off.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



Print Sponsor


Premier League results

31 Jan 2010 23:59 UK


Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 31 Jan 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42
5 Liverpool 24 16 41
6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 21 -7 25
13 Sunderland 22 -10 23
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolves 23 -21 21
18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

see also
Ferguson praises 'maturing' Nani
31 Jan 10 |  Premier League
Sunday football as it happened
31 Jan 10 |  Football


BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.