Arsenal seemed too nervous and lacked the killer instinct in their biggest match of the season so far as they lost 0-1 at Manchester United. At stake for the game was a a chance to maintain a 5 point gap at the top of the table, bragging rights and a psychological advantage and to cement their chances of being credited as solid front runners for the league title. They faltered at the stage and despite improving their game in the second half and going close a few times they were defeated. What was worse is that former Arsenal top scorer Robin Van Persie was the one who scored the goal for United and then celebrated in exuberant style.
All is not lost and the engaging game, narrow margin or a solitary goal shows signs that Arsenal can reverse the scoreline and more when their hated rivals visit the Emirates stadium later in the season. But they did have a chance to shut out any naysayers who felt that the Gunners were not yet title contenders. On the other side United boss David Moyes knew defeat would have left them 11 points adrift in the title race, a gap which might have proved beyond even the reigning champions. Wenger revealed sickness in his camp had deprived him of defender Per Mertesacker and midfielder Tomas Rosicky, while Mikel Arteta was fit to start despite also feeling unwell. This may have contributed towards a decidedly flat first 45 minutes. And despite a much-improved second half, which included two perfect crosses from full-back Bacary Sagna that somehow went untouched, it was United’s fans who were celebrating a win of great significance at the final whistle.
It was a disappointing end to a week in which Arsenal made major statements of intent against Liverpool in the Premier League and away to Dortmund in the Champions League. Now we go into the international break with a 2 point lead over Liverpool at the top of the table and United climb upto 5th place 5 points away.