Manchester United survived the second-half dismissal of Paul Pogba to end Arsenal's 12-game winning run at home in the Premier League with a 3-1 victory at Emirates Stadium - but only thanks to the brilliance of David de Gea.
The Premier League heavyweights took part in a slugfest in the English capital, with Jose Mourinho's side somehow surviving some seriously heavy punishment to run out victors and close the gap on leaders Manchester City to five points.
United capitalised on some poor defending to race out to a 2-0 lead, Antonio Valencia and Jesse Lingard punishing early Arsenal mistakes, before Alexandre Lacazette - a surprise selection after Arsene Wenger had said he would be sidelined for the fixture - halved the deficit early in the second half.
However, Arsenal's bid for a third straight home win over their rivals ran aground against the rock-solid De Gea, who produced a string of outstanding saves either side of the break to keep his team in front.
Lingard's second of the game in the 63rd minute restored a two-goal cushion and, while Pogba saw red for a stamp on Hector Bellerin that will rule him out of next weekend's Manchester derby, United held firm to triumph on their travels.
Arsenal will wonder quite how they ended up with nothing from a pulsating encounter, albeit their problems were all of their own making when a side who had previously only conceded four league goals at home in the season gifted their opponents a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes.
2 - Man Utd (2) scored more goals inside the first 11 minutes versus Arsenal than they managed in their previous eight away Premier League games vs the big six (1). Buses.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 2, 2017
Laurent Koscielny's wayward cross-field pass inadvertently set up Valencia's opener before Shkodran Mustafi's carelessness in possession led to Lingard scoring, the England international not even having to break stride to convert Anthony Martial's exquisite reverse pass in behind.
Yet despite the disastrous start, plus the loss of the injured Mustafi that forced a change in formation with a switch to a flat-back four, the hosts peppered United's goal for the remainder of the half.
Lacazette was twice denied by De Gea, who relied on his reactions to block a close-range toe poke before combining forces with the crossbar to keep out another on-target attempt from the Frenchman.
The visiting goalkeeper even had to deny Romelu Lukaku from scoring for the first time in open play at the Emirates, dropping low to his left to make sure his team-mate's inadvertent touch on a dangerous free-kick did not nestle in his own net.
While Lacazette finally beat De Gea when Aaron Ramsey's poor touch from Alexis Sanchez's cross dropped perfectly into his path, the Spaniard continued to repel a home team smelling blood.
8 – Man Utd have won more away games at Arsenal in the Premier League than any other side. Brag.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 2, 2017
United's last line of defence saved his best for the 56th minute, not only turning away Lacazette's low drive at his right post but also preventing Sanchez from tapping home the rebound, stretching out a leg to make a crucial block.
The double save proved a turning point, with United landing a sucker punch soon after. Lingard, who had already hit the post after the break, capped a fine individual performance by tapping home from close range, ending Arsenal's comeback bid.
After providing the assist for the third goal, Pogba left his team-mates to finish the game a man light with his lunge on Bellerin. The red card did not prove costly in terms of the outcome, but the Frenchman will now miss his team's next three domestic games, starting with the clash against City.
Key Opta stats:
- Arsenal suffered their first home league defeat in 15 games, since losing 2-1 to Watford in January.
- Manchester United have won more Premier League away games at Arsenal than any other side (eight).
- David de Gea made 14 saves in the game, the joint-most in a Premier League game since 2003-04, when Opta started collecting this data (also 14 for Mannone for Sunderland v Chelsea in April 2014 and Tim Krul for Newcastle v Tottenham in November 2013).
- Jose Mourinho won away to one of the 'big six' in the Premier League for the first time in 12 attempts (D5 L6).
- Paul Pogba has scored four goals and assisted six more in his last nine Premier League appearances.
- Alexandre Lacazette has scored more home goals in the Premier League this season than any other player (six).
- Aaron Ramsey has had a hand in seven goals in his last seven PL games (two goals, five assists) after contributing just two in his first seven apps of the season (one goal, one assist).
- Jesse Lingard has scored three goals in his last two Premier League games, as many as in the previous 51 combined.
- Paul Pogba received his first red card in league competition since May 2013 for Juventus vs Palermo.