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12 February 2014
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 60021
Well, that's all from our coverage at the Emirates Stadium this evening. It wasn't a classic, but hopefully you enjoyed it! It's goodbye for now.
For David Moyes, he'll be pleased with the organisation of his defence. Vidic was imperious while De Gea produced some superb stops. But they could have won the game themselves with Van Persie missing two golden opportunities.
So, Arsenal miss the chance to go top after a cagey performance in which they lacked a real cutting edge in the final third. They were bound to have had their confidence knocked after Saturday but it was not a vintage performance tonight at all.
FULL TIME at the Emirates Stadium and it's finished goalless here after a tight, tense affair between these two. It was a game lacking in chances until the last 10 minutes when the goalkeepers came into their own.
90' + 3'
Fantastic chance for United late on as Rooney poaches possession in midfield and the visitors have three on two in attack, but Koscielny does well to win the ball back for Arsenal.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Ashley Young
90' + 2'
Sagna is taken out on the far side and the hosts have a free kick, but they're still taking their time despite there being hardly any of it left.
90' + 1'
We're into three minutes of added time and the Gunners still have possession. Can they find a way through United and past De Gea?
DE GEA DENIES CAZORLA AGAIN!! It's a very disappointing set piece from Ozil, who smacks it straight into the wall. Arsenal keep possession, though, and it's worked back inside to Cazorla, who shifts on to his right before firing a low shot at goal which is saved by De Gea.
Here's a chance for Arsenal as Cazorla plays the ball into Giroud and looks to receive it back but is taken out by Evra. It's a free kick 20 yards out, just to the right of goal, and Ozil's lining it up...
Wilshere has the ball in midfield but comes to a complete standstill as he has no options in front of him. The home fans are very unhappy as it's pretty much summed up their night.
Yellow Card Bacary Sagna
Clumsy challenge from Sagna as he deliberately clips Rooney, who had shown him a fresh pair of heels, and he goes into the book.
United have goal kick and Van Persie wins it in the air against Arteta, but there's a shove in the back from the striker and Arsenal have possession once more.
GREAT STOP DE GEA!! Giroud does really well to hold the ball up just inside the box and keep the Arsenal attack alive, and Cazorla combines with Ozil before firing a low shot at goal which De Gea saves brilliantly low to his right.
Young's first contribution is a hacked clearance into the Arsenal half, which Mertesacker heads back to Szczesny. The hosts come forward again and almost every player is inside the visiting half now.
Ashley Young is introduced for United, who might sense they can steal a victory tonight. Just eight minutes to go at the Emirates Stadium.
Van Persie has had the two best chances of the match, and he's finished neither of them. Will the visitors rue those missed opportunities?
OFF THE BAR!! FANTASTIC SAVE!! Carrick steals the ball off Wilshere in midfield and United break quickly. Van Persie squares to Rooney, who returns the ball to the striker with a delightful floated ball. Van Persie meets it with a powerful header but Szczesny produces a stunning stop to push the ball on to the bar and out.
GIROUD MUST SCORE!! This really should be 1-0 to the hosts as Sagna curls in a wonderful low cross. Giroud charges to the near post and is inches away from diverting it in. Any touch would have done but somehow he couldn't meet it.
It's just slowed down again after that slightly more frantic spell. The hosts have the ball and agaom take their time to move forward into the opposing half.
The changes come, then, as Oxlade-Chamberlain and Januzaj are introduced. Can either of them inspire their side to a winning goal?
Over from Rosicky! Cazorla plays the ball inside to Giroud, who has his back to goal. He lets it run in front of him and Rosicky charges towards the ball before trying to bend a shot into the far corner, but it's far too high.
Yellow Card Antonio Valencia
A huge cheer goes up from the home fans as Valencia is booked for a late challenge on Wilshere. Cazorla whips in the free kick but it doesn't clear the first man and United blast the ball away.
Arsenal look like they'll be making their first substitution soon, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain warming up, while Adnan Januzaj could be on shortly for the visitors.
It's all a bit scrappy in the middle and Rooney almost ends up lying on the ball as he goes down under a challenge, and has three Arsenal players around him. The Gunners get possession eventually but give it straight back to United.
Great defending from Vidic! Rosicky spreads the ball out wide to Sagna, who looks for Giroud with an early cross, but Vidic does superbly to get there first and head away.
The Arsenal fans aren't happy with the referee again as Rosicky challenges Evra strongly, but is deemed to have done so illegally and a free kick is given deep inside the United half.
That's rather petulant from Wilshere as he works hard to keep possession and loses out to Carrick, who plays back to Smalling. Wilshere carries on running and clatters the United defender as he plays the ball forward. He's very lucky to escape without a booking, really.
Mata gives away a free kick for a pointless handball on the far side, but Ozil doesn't punish the Spaniard's error as his inswinging ball evades everyone and goes behind for a goal kick.
MATA DRILLS WIDE!! We're finally starting to see things open up at the Emirates Stadium, and Mata will be disappointed not to do better as he drags a shot wide of the post from 25 yards.
Good goalkeeping from Szczesny as he hares off his line to head the ball away as Van Persie chases a high ball over the top of the defence. The Arsenal shot-stopper had to watch that one very closely.
Penalty shout for the hosts as Giroud goes in for a header at the near post and falls under pressure from Vidic, but nothing is given. Seconds later the striker sees another header flash across goal and well wide.
OFF THE LINE!! Finally a decent chance!! It's a lovely cross into the box and Koscielny hammers a header across goal, but Valencia is at the far post to clear it from under his own crossbar.
Mata is clipped by Arteta in midfield as the game gets very scrappy, with the referee needing his whistle fairly regularly. United can't make anything of it, though, and Arsenal force a corner at the other end...
Cazorla is furious as he's clipped out on the flank by Smalling, but the referee simply shakes his head and awards a free kick to the visitors.
Valencia flicks the ball past Gibbs and charges down the right-hand side, before firing a low cross into the area which is easily cleared by Koscielny.
Rosicky does well to win the ball deep inside his own half before giving the ball straight back to United with a bizarre lofted ball into midfield. The quality of passing really has been disappointing tonight.
It's a loose pass from Giroud as United win the ball back in midfield. The Arsenal striker charges back to try and win possession off Rooney, and it eventually ricochets off a couple of players before going back to Szczesny.
Arsenal have the ball at the back and are taking their time with it as they weigh up another attack. You get the feeling the hosts need to make a change to add some bite into their attacks.
Evra does well to keep the ball in play out wide and hold off Sagna before forcing a corner off the defender. Szczesny punches out the cross and it comes out to Mata on the edge of the box, but his first-time volley goes well wide.
Unfortunately for fans of entertainment, this one has carried on exactly where it left off before the break. Both sides look very tentative in possession, and we haven't seen a really clear-cut chance since the second minute.
More good work from Ferdinand as Ozil tries to flick a pass through for Giroud, but the defender cuts it out again before Wilshere concedes a free kick in midfield.
Arsenal have the ball for the first time in this half, but it's still quite a slow build-up and Ferdinand is able to cut out Wilshere's pass to put it out for a throw.
Wilshere is caught out in midfield as Cleverley works hard to win the ball in midfield. It's been a good start to the second half for the visitors so far.
Good work from Smalling straight away as he turns past Cazorla out on the flank, drawing a foul from the Spaniard and giving Mata a chance to whip a cross into the Arsenal box. It's flicked on by Carrick but goes behind for a goal kick as no-one can get another touch.
We're back underway at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal get the ball rolling for the second half. Rio Ferdinand is on for the visitors as Rafael is replaced, meaning Smalling goes out to right-back.
So, with just a couple of minutes to go until the restart, will we see any changes at the break? Surely something's got to give in the second half?
Arsene Wenger's side, meanwhile, will really want to take advantage of Chelsea's draw last night and the postponement at Manchester City. If they're to win this they need Giroud to lead the line a bit more strongly, and also start hitting the target.
It's hard to say which manager will be happier. While they can't afford to lose, United need to start winning most of their games if they're to get into the top four. The visitors finished the half strongly, though, so David Moyes will want to see more of the same after the break.
These two clearly feel they can't afford to lose this game, and it's showing so far. Arsenal's passing hasn't been as fluid and crisp as usual, while United aren't pressing the hosts too high.
That's HALF TIME at the Emirates Stadium and we're yet to see a goal so far after a relatively tense, low-quality 45 minutes of football.
45' + 2'
Arsenal can't make anything of the corner and United come away with it before Rooney ends up conceding a throw right on the halfway line. The England man doesn't look too impressed with the decision though.
45' + 1'
Another chance for Giroud as the Gunners break quickly and the ball is crossed in from the right-hand side, but his header is deflected behind off Vidic for a corner.
The set piece from Van Persie is poor and easily headed away, but United keep the ball. Mata's cross from the right is cleared by Mertesacker before Sagna is fouled on the other side, giving the hosts a chance to alleviate the pressure.
The visitors ping a cross in from either side, but both are easily cleared by Arsenal. Cazorla is caught out on the edge of his own box though as Valencia steals the ball back for United, who eventually force a corner.
United are finishing the half much stronger, but can't create anything meaningful. Carrick looks to slide a pass through for Rafael but it's cut out and Arsenal come forward.
Sloppy from Szczesny as he slices Sagna's pass up into the air, and Van Persie is first to it on the touchline. The visitors can't make anything of it, though, as Mata is confronted by a red-and-white wall after receiving possession.
The United defender is back on his feet, albeit a little gingerly, and he trudges off as per the rules, but looks like he'll carry on for now at least.
Rafael is down now after landing very awkwardly, and it looks like we'll have a fairly lengthy break in play here.
Good spell here for United as Rafael is in behind Gibbs and chooses to lay back to Mata, but he's quickly closed down and can't get a shot or a pass away. The visitors quickly win it back, though, and the home fans are starting to get a little agitated.
Arsenal again give it away cheaply in midfield, and Valencia looks to move down the flank before thinking better of it and playing back to Rafael.
It's not as bad as first feared for Gibbs, and the defender is straight back on as soon as play resumes. Wilshere goes down in midfield moments later under a challenge from Valencia, but nothing is given.
Gibbs goes up for the ball in the box and heads a tame effort straight at De Gea. The full-back goes down after clattering Rafael, though, and the referee stops play so the Englishman can get treatment.
Van Persie and Valencia are both forced into defensive duties as the striker heads away an Arsenal corner before the United winger diverts away the return ball in.
Again, it doesn't quite pay off for Arsenal as Cazorla slides it into Giroud, who tries to flick the ball back to his team-mate but sees it easily cut out.
It's a poor effort from Arteta, who slams the ball straight into the wall and United scramble it clear. There's been a distinct lack of quality so far tonight.
Wilshere is clattered by Cleverley and initially the referee waves play on, but eventually chooses to give the free kick. Arsenal have it in a dangerous position, 30 yards out, level with the left corner of the box.
Mata looks to advance down the left, but Sagna watches him closely and eventually gets a foot in to push the ball away and set Arsenal forward themselves. United's attacking players have been very quiet since that early Van Persie chance.
GIROUD BLAZES OVER!! He's going to have to put one of these away eventually! Rooney collects the ball facing his own goal, and Arteta charges in to poach it, flicking it into the path of Giroud. The striker lets it roll across his body before slicing a left-footed effort high and wide from 20 yards.
It's all a bit scrappy so far, and Rosicky is the latest to produce a loose pass as he volleys the ball straight out of play for a throw. No-one has massively stood out yet but the hosts are definitely enjoying more possession.
United win a corner and Rooney takes it short to Mata, who gives it straight back, and the forward whips in an inswinging ball which Sagna does well to head clear.
CHANCE FOR GIROUD!! The striker has another chance from a corner, getting to the ball ahead of Vidic but again diverting his header wide. He headbutts the ground in frustration, knowing that was another good chance.
Wilshere and Giroud combine again as the former tries to get on the end of the Frenchman's flick over the top, but Smalling is there to put it behind for a corner.
Vidic challenges Giroud for a header but ends up climbing all over the striker and concedes a free kick. Most of the play is inside the visitors' half at the moment.
Wilshere, Ozil and Giroud all combine on the edge of the area as they look to play some intricate passing through United, but it's a little loose and gets scrambled away. Cazorla picks it up and finds Rosicky, whose cross is way too deep and De Gea catches comfortably.
The visitors have a chance to break as Rooney spreads the ball wide to Valencia, who finds Cleverley infield. He then tries to shield the ball from Koscielny but isn't strong enough and the Arsenal defender comes away with it.
Cazorla plays the ball inside to Wilshere, and the England man looks to complete the one-two with a flicked ball over the top, but Smalling cuts it out and United win possession.
VAN PERSIE IN AGAIN!! Mata slides a wonderful pass through the Arsenal defence and the striker advances into the area. He's at a tight angle, though, and cuts on to his right foot before trying a shot which ends up nearer the corner flag than the goal.
That's loose from Evra, who slices the ball straight out of play when looking for Mata down the left-hand side. The visitors get it back, though, and Cleverley launches a high ball forward, but Mertesacker watches well to head it away.
It's been a tense opening quarter of an hour here. You sense neither side really doesn't want to lose this one. It's United's turn to enjoy some possession now - can they fashion anything?
Rooney and Wilshere go up for a 50-50 header and it's the United man who wins, with the Gunners midfielder ending up on the floor asking for a free kick. Nothing is given, but the loose ball falls to an Arsenal player anyway.
It's a patient approach from Arsenal, who take their time to move forward before Cazorla is caught out on the far side, just straying offside to receive the ball from Ozil.
VITAL FROM MERTESACKER!! The visitors come forward through Rafael, who drives a low cross into the area. Van Persie tries to flick it towards goal at the near post, but Mertesacker gets a very important foot in to steer the ball away.
ROSICKY!! The midfielder inadvertently causes problems as he tries an effort from outside the box on the left-hand side, and it deflects off a defender before looping towards the far post, but De Gea watches the ball closely before gathering possession.
Rooney has the ball inside his own half and is pressed high by the hosts, eventually passing it straight to Mertesacker. Arsenal are starting to impose themselves now.
Carrick puts De Gea under a bit of pressure with a pass back to the goalkeeper, but the United shot-stopper does well to clear with Giroud charging in.
Ozil's inswinging free kick is headed out but it only comes out as far as Cazorla. The Spaniard tries a volleyed pass across the field towards Ozil, but gets it all wrong and the ball goes out of play.
Vidic is penalised for a shove out wide and Ozil has a chance to whip this into the box...
CHANCES FOR WILSHERE AND GIROUD!! Wilshere is almost in at the other end as he twists and turns into the area and tries to get a shot away, but sees it blocked by Smalling. From the corner Giroud is unmarked in the six-yard box but disappointingly flicks his header wide of the far post.
It's not quite coming together for the hosts just yet as Rosicky's pass is cut out before Arteta clips Mata late, and United have a free kick in their own half.
WHAT A CHANCE!! Huge let-off early on for the hosts!! Arteta dithers on the ball and Van Persie catches the midfielder in possession before driving towards the area and firing a low shot across goal, but it's an easy save for Szczesny in the end.
Manchester United get the ball rolling and the game is underway in London.
The players come out of the tunnel to a rousing reception from the fans around the Emirates Stadium. We're just a couple of minutes away from kick-off.
Or will it be Robin van Persie? The Dutch striker has netted in the last five meetings between these two, with three goals for United and two for his former club.
Juan Mata has scored in his last four starts against Arsenal. Could he be the key player for the visitors tonight?
The Red Devils, meanwhile, have only amassed seven points from their last six league games, but have only lost one of their last 13 meetings with Arsenal in all competitions.
There will be a lot of eyes on Mesut Ozil for the hosts, after some pretty abject performances recently. The £42 million summer signing needs to pick things up to help guide his side to a win and back to top spot tonight.
Saturday's defeat at Anfield was the Gunners' first in nine league games, but they're unbeaten at the Emirates stadium in the Premier League since the very opening day of the season, when they lost 3-1 to Aston Villa, and have only conceded once in eight league home games.
For the visitors it's also a double switch, with Antonio Valencia and Tom Cleverley drafted into midfield ahead of Ashley Young and Darren Fletcher, who started in the 2-2 draw with Fulham on Sunday.
Arsene Wenger makes two changes from the 5-1 demolition at Liverpool then, with Kieran Gibbs coming in for Nacho Monreal at full-back while Tomas Rosicky replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Man Utd Subs: Lindegaard, Buttner, Ferdinand, Fellaini, Young, Hernandez, Januzaj.
Manchester United (4-4-2): De Gea; Rafael, Smalling, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Cleverley, Carrick, Mata; Rooney, Van Persie.
Arsenal subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski, Sanogo, Bendtner.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Wilshere; Rosicky, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud.
Manchester City v Sunderland and Everton v Crystal Palace have both been postponed having fallen foul of the weather, with high winds in the North West, but we'll definitely be having a game in north London tonight, so let's take a look at the line-ups...
The Gunners can go top with a win this evening, while David Moyes' side desperately need a result to keep their Champions League qualification hopes alive, as they currently sit nine points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.
Hello and welcome to LIVE coverage of the huge Premier League clash between Arsenal and Manchester United. It's a massive midweek game at the Emirates Stadium and we should be in for a treat tonight.
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