Arsenal inflicted a first league defeat on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United at the Emirates on Sunday in a game that closely mirrored the same fixture between the two sides last season.
Just as in May of last year, Granit Xhaka opened the scoring for the Gunners with one of his customary, slightly speculative long-range efforts.
With the rain pouring and the wind lashing, Xhaka collected the ball from Alexandre Lacazette some 20-plus yards from goal and decided to have a bash.
The Swiss midfielder duly managed to completely fox David De Gea with a bending shot that left the United ‘keeper rocking on his heels…
The goal sparked plenty of debate among the football commentariat as to whether or not De Gea’s positioning/reading of the shot constituted a goalkeeping error.
Given that the ball was seemingly heading one direction for a few yards before veering off in t’other, we’re willing to give Dave a pass here. Let us know if you happen to think otherwise.
Anyway, a further goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – a penalty awarded for the softest of fouls by Fred on Lacazette – saw the Gunners stride to victory over a United side who, despite arguably being better on the day, were ultimately made to pay for squandering a clutch of good chances.
The result puts Arsenal (60) two points above United (58) as the race for fourth place enters the final straight.
As for Xhaka; for a man still denigrated by a number of Arsenal fans, he’s slowly but surely becoming one of Unai Emery’s most important players. The man once rendered a punchline is often an influential presence in that midfield, both offensively and defensively.