Louis van Gaal changed his tactics to try to surprise Arsenal and counter his team’s defensive problems, with three central defenders and with Luke Shaw and Valencia playing as wing backs in a midfield five, with Rooney and van Persie up front. But it was not really working as the Gunners tok control of the first half and really should have scored at least one goal before the break.
Wilshere had an eventful half. He could have been sent off, should have won a penalty and found himself one on one with De Gea. But while his finish should have been better, the United keeper was in top form and he also denied Chamberlain and Welbeck with great work.
United did have some chances themselves, mainly in the last 10 minutes but it would have been terribly harsh if they had scored. The Gunners were on top again after halftime and Welbeck brought another top save from DE Gea in the first few minutes, although our striker should have done better.
But we then lost Wilshere who had been one of our best players after a bad tackle from McNair on his left ankle. He was replaced by Santi Cazorla but Arsenal were behind straight away. Fellaini was offside but not given and then Szczesny’s clearance fell to Valencia whose wayward shot hit Gibbs and went in. And our unbelievable bad luck was compounded with Szczesny having to be replaced by Martinez.
Somehow, without a single shot on target, the jammy Mancs were ahead. And then, of course, we had to take more risks and while we were doing good things going fowrds we did look mure vulneranle at the other end. And it looked like we would need something special to beat their Spanish keeper.
Wenger had just one sub left and he brought Giroud on for Ramsey with 20 minutes left. And Arsenal went on the attack and played some fantastic tricky football as we beseiged their box, but the goal just would not come. But as the clock ticked down we had to throw caution to the wind and while nothing ran for us, United got the chance and hit us on the break with a second to seal the win. It could have been three as well as Di Maria missed from another break.
And then with four minutes of injury time left, Giroud scored a beauty into the top corner. But another late comeback was not to be this time. Arsenal will play much worse and lose but I don;t think we will lose many games playing as well. THe fact is, though, that United go above us into fourth and we languish in 8th place.