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Three Big Moments from Arsenal vs Manchester United

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LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 30: Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United takes a shot under pressure from David Luiz of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 30, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Arsenal squared off against Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon in a battle between two historic giants of English football.

The Gunners entered the match in good form, having won four and drawn once in their past five games. Following the departure of Mesut Ozil, new loan signing Martin Odegaard was named on the bench. Gabriel Martinelli featured ahead of Bukayo Saka, as the London side looked to do the double on their opponents.

Meanwhile, United looked to bounce back from their shocking 2-1 loss to bottom-side Sheffield United. Edinson Cavani returned to the starting lineup, as the away side looked to avoid another dent in their title hopes. A certain Bruno Fernandes also celebrated his one-year anniversary with the club.

With news of Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Sheffield ringing in their ears, United had to respond.

Here are three big moments from Arsenal vs Manchester United.

Leno keeps the scores level

Arsenal started the match in the front foot, keeping possession well while attacking towards the flanks. Mikel Arteta’s men controlled the midfield battle and forced United to work for the ball. United’s best chance in the half came in the 20th minute when Fred’s looping effort forced a sprawling save out of Bernd Leno. Leno’s save and David Luiz’s free-kick celebration summarized Arsenal’s spirited performance.

Lacazette rattles the bar

Despite United’s strong finish to the first half, Arsenal started the second half strong. Arteta brought on Willian at half-time for “tactical” reasons, and the Brazilian almost gave his side the lead before Aaron Wan-Bissaka blocked his shot. Edinson Cavani then missed a glorious chance from point-blank, as both sides created chances to no avail.

The best chance of the game came from Alexander Lacazette in the 65th minute. The Frenchman kept United captain Harry Maguire busy throughout the match, and he was unlucky to see his free-kick rattle the crossbar. The woodwork came to David De Gea’s rescue, as the Spaniard had no chance of saving Lacazette’s effort.

Cavani (almost) wins it

With the score still locked at 0-0, something had to give. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s men had the chance to leave the Emirates with all three points in the 88th minute, but Edinson Cavani’s scissor-kick sailed half an inch away from the right side of the goal. In hindsight, Cavani should’ve left the ball for Anthony Martial, who looked better positioned to take the shot himself. The match ended in a stalemate, with Arsenal the happier side.

Arsenal vs Manchester United was a game of half chances and countless missed opportunities. Despite setting a new club record for the longest unbeaten streak on the road, United missed a big opportunity to close the gap on Manchester City. The Cityzens now sit in first place, three points ahead of their neighbors and with a game in hand.

As for Arsenal, this result is another step in the right direction. The Gunners defended superbly and are now unbeaten in their last seven Premier League matches since Christmas.