Cristiano Ronaldo News

Monday, January 22, 2007

Report: Arsenal 2 United 1

21/01/2007 17:45, Report by Gemma Thompson

Thierry Henry netted an injury time winner to clinch a dramatic 2-1 win for Arsenal over United at the Emirates Stadium.
The Frenchman headed past Edwin van der Sar in the fourth and final minute of added time following Robin van Persie’s 83rd minute equaliser.

Wayne Rooney had earlier put the visitors in front with a diving header – his ninth of the season - but the Reds were dealt a cruel late blow as the Gunners' stole victory and prevented United from extending their lead over Chelsea.

Sir Alex Ferguson made just one change to the side that overcame Aston Villa in their last league game, bringing in Ryan Giggs to replace Ji-sung Park. The United boss stuck with the front pairing of Wayne Rooney and Henrik Larsson, choosing to leave Louis Saha on the bench.

Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, opted to partner Thierry Henry with Emmanuel Adeboyer, who netted the winner at Old Trafford back in September, at the expense of Robin van Persie who was named on the bench having picked up an ankle knock earlier in the week. Elsewhere, Emmanuel Eboue came in for Justin Hoyte at right-back and Mathieu Flamini replaced the suspended Gilberto Silva in central midfield.

United, who were in search of their first away victory over the Gunners for nearly two years, began the brighter of the two sides and dominated the opening exchanges. Giggs, who started the match up front alongside Larsson with Rooney on the left, struck the visitors’ first effort on goal on 6 minutes after a neat passing move from United. Larsson eventually laid the ball off to Giggs on the edge of the box, but the Welshman curled his shot wide of Jens Lehmann’s right hand post.

Arsenal soon began to find their feet and Thierry Henry tried a speculative effort from distance on 13 minutes. Cutting in from the left wing, he took aim but his shot was straight at Edwin van der Sar.

The temperature inside the Emirates Stadium began to rise soon after following an altercation between Emmanuel Eboue and Wayne Rooney. Referee Steve Bennett, who had booked Kolo Toure seconds earlier for kicking the ball away, stepped in to calm matters. But in truth, his fussiness did not help as he proceeded to book Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra for rather innocuous challenges.

Having withstood United’s early pressure, Arsenal grew in stature as the half progressed and looked set to open the scoring 12 minutes from the break when the ball fell to Thierry Henry. Fortunately for the Reds, van der Sar dived to his right to grasp the Frenchman’s goalbound header after an excellent cross from Adebayor down the right.

United survived another scare soon after when Henry went down in the area under a challenge from Gary Neville but Steve Bennett, whose view was partially blocked by Adebayor, waved away the Gunners’ appeals for a penalty. Replays showed the Reds’ skipper had made contact with the striker as United fans breathed a sigh relief.

After seeing van der Sar block another Henry effort as half-time approached, United finished the first period as they’d started it – on top. And only some superb goalkeeping from Jens Lehmann prevented them from going ahead. First the German stopper tipped Wayne Rooney’s superb volley over the bar, and from the resulting corner he palmed Larsson’s header away with his outstretched left hand.

Eight minutes into the second period, Wayne Rooney got back to doing what Wayne Rooney does best as he put United in front. After Ronaldo had slipped Patrice Evra in down the left, the full-back's dangerous cross into the box took a nick off Toure before dropping into Rooney’s path allowing the striker to guide a diving header into the net for his first headed goal of his Reds’ career.

As Arsenal went looking for the equaliser, Arsene Wenger introduced Robin van Persie in place of the ineffectual Aleksandr Hleb on 67 minutes. The Reds’ defence continued to stand firm amid constant pressure from the Gunners. Adebayor had three bites of the cherry on 72
minutes when the ball fell to him inside the area but a combination of van der Sar, Ferdinand and Vidic kept the Gunners’ front man at bay.

Seven minutes from time, however, United’s resistance was finally broken. A combination of Fabregas and Rosicky contrived to win possesion on the edge United's box. Henry failed with his attempted flick at Rosicky's right wing cross, but the ball fell to van Persie at the far post who stole in ahead of Gary Neville and blasted it into the roof of van der Sar’s net.

Things got a whole lot worse for the Reds in the last minute of stoppage time when Henry headed home Eboue's excellent cross from the right as the Emirates Stadium erupted.

It’s as you were at the climax of “crunch weekend.” While rueing their missed opportunity to gain a nine point advantage over Chelsea, United know they are still very much in the driving seat at the Premiership summit. All is not lost.

Team Line-ups

United: Van der Sar; Neville (c), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo (Heinze, 90), Carrick, Scholes, Giggs; Rooney, Larsson (Saha, 82).
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Brown, Fletcher

Arsenal: Lehmann; Eboue (Hoyte, 90), Toure, Senderos, Clichy; Hleb (van Persie, 67), Fabregas, Flamini (Baptista, 79), Rosicky; Henry, Adebayor.
Subs not used: Almunia, Denilson

Attendance: 60,128

credit: Posted by Picasa


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