EIGHT, that`s right EIGHT!
After the win over Spurs, on Monday night, Sir Alex Ferguson chose tO select the same starting eleven, even though Rio Ferdinand was fit enough to be awarded a place on the bench.
United – De Gea, Smalling, Jones, Evans, Evra, Nani, Anderson, Cleverley, Young, Rooney, Welbeck
Subs – Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Berbatov, Giggs, Park, Hernandez, Fabio
First Half – United got the action underway and were to take a tight hold on the game in the opening forty-five minutes, although there were moments of hope for Arsenal.
Early on Cleverley shot wide after a decent build up involving Smalling and Nani before Rooney saw a long range shot saved by the keeper. Welbeck, running through a static Arsenal defence, chipped an effort wide and Young had a penalty appeal turned down after a brush with Coquelin.
Arshavin saw the first yellow card of the game for a bad tackle on Jones before Arsenal forced a corner, when a Rosicky shot deflected wide. From the corner Koscielny headed wide. Cleverley was forced to leave the pitch, temporarily, for treatment to a cut eye before midway through the half United took the lead.
The goal came after Anderson chipped a delightful ball over the heads of the Arsenal defence and although he was out-numbered, Welbeck looped a header over Szczesny in the Arsenal goal.
United 1 Arsenal 0 – (Welbeck – 22 minutes)
United were pushing forward with ease and Smalling saw a shot dragged wide before Arsenal were presented with a golden chance to equalise. Evans was adjudged to have had one tug too many at Walcott and Howard Webb, on the advice of his linesman, pointed to the spot.
Van Persie stepped up and hit his shot low to De Gea`s right. The Spaniard guessed right and pushed the kick around the post. Evans received a yellow card for his indiscretion
A poor clearance from the Arsenal defence was then punished by Young when he curled a delightful shot past the despairing dive of the keeper into the top corner.
United 2 Arsenal 0 – (Young – 28 minutes)
De Gea was forced into action again, saving well from Arshavin and then deflecting Van Persie`s attempt from the rebound away. A Rooney cross was turned just behind by a diving header form Welbeck before the forward, minutes later, was forced to leave the field with a hamstring strain, Hernandez came on as his replacement.
Arsenal then conceded two free kicks in dangerous positions, the first saw Nani fire over the bar but the second saw Rooney curl a delightful shot over the wall to put United 3-0 up.
United 3 Arsenal 0 – (Rooney – 41 minutes)
With three minutes of stoppage time announced, Arsenal gave themselves hope with a goal in the third minute of that stoppage time when Walcott finished from eight yards out, from an acute angle.
United 3 Arsenal 1 – (Walcott – 45+3 minutes)
Half Time – United 3 Arsenal 1
Second Half – If United were rampant in the first half then the second half saw Arsenal`s word fall in. No changes were made by either side and for the first eighteen minutes of the half things were quite even.
Arsenal even had a decent chance to reduce the arrears but Arshavin, after skipping clear of Jones, couldn`t finish. It was to be a costly mistake. Rooney was fouled on the edge of the area and once he`d dusted himself down he curled another beauty of a free kick home, this time in the opposite corner of the net to which he`d scored in the first half.
United 4 Arsenal 1 – (Rooney – 64 minutes)
Three minutes later, United took advantage of some woeful Arsenal defender when a Rooney assist left Nani in acres of space to chip home from eight yards out.
United 5 Arsenal 1 – (Nani – 67 minutes)
Sir Alex made two changes with Giggs and Park coming on for Anderson and Nani, seconds later Rooney, trying an audacious chip, saw it hit the post. Minutes after coming on, Park added to the rout when his low shot, from outside the area, snuck home.
United 6 Arsenal 1 – (Park – 70 minutes)
Arsenal, kept trying though and Van Persie reduced the arrears with a goal from close range after good work, down the flank by Jenkinson.
United 6 Arsenal 2 – (Van Persie – 74 minutes)
Walcott forced De Gea into a save from range before a second yellow card for Jenkinson, for a foul on Hernandez, saw the young defender sent off. Walcott, forced to slot in at right back, tripped Evra in the area and from the penalty spot Rooney got his well deserved hat-trick by sending the keeper the wrong way.
United 7 Arsenal 2 – (Rooney pen – 81 minutes)
Still, there was time for another and it came in the three minutes of stoppage time when Young, just like in the first half, curled a great effort past the keeper.
United 8 Arsenal 2 – (Young – 90+1 minutes)
All in all superb entertainment as United march on.
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