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Arsenal guns down a lacklustre Manchester United

Clinical: Nicolas Pepe’s early strike set the tone for Arsenal’s dominant display against Manchester United.

Clinical: Nicolas Pepe’s early strike set the tone for Arsenal’s dominant display against Manchester United.  

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Win offers hope for a brighter future under new manager Mikel Arteta

Arsenal rang in the new year by giving boss Mikel Arteta his first victory as lacklustre Manchester United crashed to a 2-0 defeat.

Arteta had watched Arsenal take only one point from his first two matches, with last weekend’s 2-1 defeat against Chelsea especially painful after the Blues scored twice in the final minutes.

But Arsenal had played well for long periods in that London derby and it produced an even more sparkling display to put United to the sword at the Emirates Stadium.

Close range

The Gunners took the lead in the eighth minute when Sead Kolasinac’s cross ran through to Nicolas Pepe at the far post and the Ivory Coast winger beat David De Gea from close-range.

Arsenal, which last won in the league at West Ham on December 9, got a deserved second goal in the 43rd minute when De Gea kept out Alexandre Lacazette’s flick and Sokratis reacted quickest to lash home.

Nine adrift

Arteta’s team is nine points adrift of the top four, but its second win in 16 matches in all competitions offers hope of a brighter future under the former Arsenal midfielder’s management.

“It feels great, incredible. I’m so happy and proud of the players,” Arteta said.

“Physically the level dropped in the second half but the commitment and desire was terrific.

“The performances are getting better so I was desperate for the win and we got it.”

United is fifth, five points behind fourth placed Chelsea, after the latest in a long list of underwhelming performances in a troubled campaign.

“We started decent the first five or six minutes, didn’t capitalise, and then they played really well,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

“We were too slow in the first half, but that’s credit to them. Some tired heads maybe.”

The results: Arsenal 2 (Pepe 8, Sokratis 43) bt Manchester United 0; Manchester City 2 (Jesus 51, 58) bt Everton 1 (Richarlison 71); Newcastle 0 lost to Leicester 3 (Perez 36, Maddison 39, Choudhury 87); Norwich 1 (Cantwell 4) drew with Crystal Palace 1 (Wickham 85); Southampton 1 (Ings 17) bt Tottenham 0; Watford 2 (Deulofeu 30, Doucoure 49) bt Wolves 1 (Neto 60); West Ham 4 (Noble 17, 35-pen, Haller 25, Anderson 66) bt Bournemouth 0.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 8:33:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/arsenal-guns-down-a-lacklustre-manchester-united/article30462694.ece

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