Arteta earns first win as Arsenal sink Man Utd, but Spurs, Chelsea stumble
Arsenal rang in the new year by giving boss Mikel Arteta his first victory as lacklustre Manchester United crashed to a 2-0 defeat, while Tottenham and Chelsea also slipped up in the Premier League’s top four race on Wednesday.
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 they produced an even more sparkling display to put United to the sword at the Emirates Stadium.
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, who 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.
Arteta’s team are nine points adrift of the top four, but their 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 are 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.”
Chelsea remain in pole position to secure the fourth Champions League qualification place but manager Frank Lampard will rue conceding a spectacular late equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Brighton.
Cesar Azpilicueta gave Chelsea the lead, tapping in from close-range in the 10th minute…….read more