Arsenal shoot down Manchester United
Arsene Wenger bested Jose Mourinho in the Premier League as Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0 yesterday to revive their challenge for Champions League qualification.
Quick-fire second-half goals by Granit Xhaka and United old boy Danny Welbeck at the Emirates Stadium condemned the visitors to their first defeat in 26 league games.
Arsenal remain sixth, six points behind Manchester City, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League berth, but they are now just two points below fifth-place United and retain games in hand on both Manchester teams.
Arsenal will approach their final four matches with hope intact that they may yet squeeze into the Champions League for the 20th season running.
For United, the Europa League now looks even more like their best hope of securing Champions League football for next season.
The visitors had two early sights of goal, Wayne Rooney heading over and Anthony Martial drawing a near-post parry from Petr Cech, but it was Arsenal who made most of the running.
Persisting with their new 3-4-2-1 shape, the hosts were allowed to advance deep into United territory and chances soon arrived.
The second half was trundling along at the same, fairly pedestrian pace before two goals in the space of three minutes dropped victory into Arsenal's lap.
They took the lead in the 54th minute thanks to a huge stroke of fortune as Xhaka's speculative 25-yard strike smacked into Herrera's turned back and looped over the despairing dive of De Gea. Before United had had time to clear their heads, it was 2-0.
In the day's earlier game, Liverpool's James Milner missed a penalty in an uninspiring 0-0 draw with Southampton.
The Reds never got out of first gear at Anfield in a terrible contest best remembered for Fraser Forster's brilliant penalty save from Liverpool skipper Milner. Liverpool have now moved above Manchester City into third place.