Gunners beaten by late Fellaini header at United - My Arsenal Blog

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Gunners beaten by late Fellaini header at United

Posted on April 29, 2018 by David Nugent

Arsenal suffered a late 2-1 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford, courtesy of a stoppage-time winner from substitute Marouane Fellaini.

United offered the first threat on goal on four minutes, as midfielder Paul Pogba fired an effort wide of goal. Arsenal saw their first effort on goal was a long-range low effort from youngster Reiss Nelson, which David De Gea saved comfortably.

The home side took the lead soon afterwards. Pogba started the move by playing the ball to Romelu Lukaku in the area. Alexis Sanchez headed the Belgian striker’s far post cross towards goal, only for Hector Bellerin to deflect the effort on to the post. However, Pogba followed up to volley past David Ospina in the Gunners goal.

Arsenal came close to equalising on 20 minutes, as Ainsley Maitland-Niles produced a sublime flick to find Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose effort went just inches past the far post. Maitland-Niles then saw a penalty appeal turned down after Sanchez clipped the youngster in the area.

Arsenal had a big chance on 36 minutes, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed tamely at De Gea when well placed in the penalty area. With five minutes of the first-half, full-back Ashley Young miss-kicked a cross which hit David Ospina’s near post.

Just before half-time, Nelson headed wide of De Gea’s far post from the penalty spot after a pinpoint centre from Aubameyang.

Arsenal scored with the first real effort of the second half on 50 minutes. Granit Xhaka nicked the ball in midfield and found Mkhitaryan in acres of space and the Armenian rolled the ball past De Gea comfortably.

Ashley Young saw an effort from inside the penalty area blocked by the Arsenal defence before Chris Smalling had a header on goal blocked from the resulting corner kick. Mkhitaryan then fired over the United bar from a quick counter-attack.

The next attempt on goal did not come until the 69th minute. Former United forward Danny Welbeck dispossessed Marouane Fellaini in midfield before hitting an effort from long-range, which was saved comfortably by De Gea. On 72 minutes, Fellaini hit an effort just wide on the half volley.

Seven minutes later United substitute Anthony Martial fired wide of goal from just outside the Arsenal penalty area as the hosts looked to regain the lead, while Antonio Valencia volleyed well over the United bar from inside the penalty box.

The home side thought they had scored a winner with just a minute left on the clock. Fellaini headed Martial’s cross against the post only for the ball to go in off substitute Marcus Rashford. The United players celebrated but the goal was disallowed for offside.

United score a second goal in the first minute of stoppage-time, as Fellaini headed home Ashley Young’s cross.  The effort turned out to be the last of the game, as Arsene Wenger loses on his last trip to Old Trafford.

In reality, though, the young team the veteran French boss fielded did a decent job. The Gunners attention will now turn to Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid.

Did Arsenal deserve more from their trip to Old Trafford?

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