Man Utd 1-1 Arsenal: Herrera's scored 6 goals from how many shots on target this season?
Arsenal took a significant step closer to sealing third place in the Premier League after coming from behind to draw at direct rivals Manchester United.
The Red Devils made two changes from their 2-0 success at Crystal Palace last time out, with Marcos Rojo and Radamel Falcao drafted in to replace sidelined duo Luke Shaw and Wayne Rooney. Arsenal, meanwhile, were able to name the same side for the sixth game running, matching a 21-year-old club record.
Despite winning at Old Trafford in the FA Cup earlier in the year, the Gunners had not done it in the league since a 1-0 victory at the Theatre of Dreams in September 2006 courtesy of Emmanuel Adebayor's strike.
A first half in which Arsenal registered 0 shots offered little encouragement to travelling supporters hoping to witness a sixth consecutive Premier League away win, and Ander Herrera's 30th-minute opener only dampened moods in the away section further. It was the first time since New Year's Day at Southampton that the Gunners had conceded a goal in the opening 45 minutes, and it capped an impressive half for the Spanish schemer, who was the game's top passer (38/41) and United's top tackler (4/6) at the interval.
An out-of-sorts Arsenal had been comfortably out-passed by their north-west adversaries before the break (267 to 150), but the north Londoners upped the ante upon the restart, with Alexis Sanchez smashing an effort over the crossbar and Olivier Giroud toe-poking at David de Gea's legs from close range.
In the first half Arsenal had completed just 18 passes in the attacking third, but in the second period that number had been eclipsed within 15 minutes as the visitors pushed for parity. Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere were both introduced by Arsene Wenger, while De Gea was withdrawn due to injury in what was potentially his final Old Trafford outing ahead of a mooted move to Real Madrid.
And Arsenal were rewarded after 82 minutes as substitute Walcott's right-wing cross took a deflection off (another sub) Tyler Blackett and flew past (another sub) Victor Valdes, making his Premier League debut.
A point apiece means Arsenal will be assured of third spot and automatic entry to the Champions League group phase with victory at home to Sunderland on Wednesday evening. A draw is also likely to be enough due to their superior goal difference over Manchester United, who already have fourth place sewn up and will face a two-legged play-off to qualify for Europe's elite competition after a year away from it.
- Arsenal have named the same team in 6 consecutive Premier League games for only the second time (January 1994 the other).
- Ander Herrera has scored 6 goals from 7 shots on target in the Premier League this season.
- Arsenal failed to have a single shot in the first half of a Premier League game for the first time since November 2004 vs Liverpool.
- Tyler Blackett scored only Man United's second own goal vs Arsenal in the Premier League, the other was by Gary Pallister in March 1994.
- The Gunners have not beaten United in the Premier League in 8 attempts, since Aaron Ramsey scored the winner at the Emirates in May 2011.
- Manchester United have gone 8 Premier League games without a clean sheet for the first time since September 2001.