Arsenal’s typical spineless defence and toothless attack showed up on Sunday, but for some tactical madness from their manager, the Gunners could have actually gone more than close to upsetting the odds today.
Instead, they suffered a third straight defeat in the Premier League and saw former title rivals Manchester United do the league ‘double’ over them yet again, as the north London side lost more ground in their race for a top four spot.
United could have been mistaken to be the home side for much of a first-half of midfield domination which forced a late goal from Valencia to hand Ferguson’s men the lead.
Arsenal came out desperate after the break and after 71 minutes, Oxlade-Chamberlain – who had been at the heart of the Gunners’ response – set up Van Persie to pull the hosts level.
What then followed baffled the entire Emirates stadium and even goalscorer Van Persie who shrugged his shoulders in confusion.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had been arguably the best performer of either team on the night, was withdrawn for Andrey Arshavin – prime culprit of disappointment at Swansea last week – as Arsenal’s momentum was halted.
That brought a rare negative treatment from the Arsenal faithful towards Wenger as fans echoed Arshavin’s introduction with boos while Oxlade-Chamberlain was cheered off the pitch.
And then as ever, Arshavin’s lack of dedication proved costly as the Russian allowed Valencia to beat him with ease before setting up a well-fired strike from Welbeck.
That would be that for the day and Arsenal’s title hopes if there was any.
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