Man Utd 2-1 Arsenal: Marouane Fellaini scores injury-time winner to secure top-four finish
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 30/04/18 6:25am
Marouane Fellaini's injury-time header gave Manchester United a 2-1 win in Arsene Wenger's last game at Old Trafford with Arsenal.
Substitute Fellaini popped up in the 91st minute with a well-directed header from Ashley Young's left-wing cross to give Jose Mourinho the points over rival Wenger, who hasn't won a league game at Old Trafford since 2006.
Paul Pogba had given United the lead (16) from close range, but former United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan levelled after the break (51) with a neatly-placed low effort from the edge of the box.
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Valencia (7), Lindelof (6), Smalling (6), Young (8), Herrera (6), Matic (6), Pogba (7), Lingard (5), Sanchez (5), Lukaku (5)
Subs: Rashford (6), Martial (7), Fellaini (7)
Arsenal: Ospina (6), Bellerin (7), Chambers (6), Mavropanos (7), Kolasinac (6), Xhaka (4), Maitland-Niles (9), Nelson (7), Iwobi (6), Mkhitaryan (8), Aubameyang (5)
Subs: Welbeck (6), Monreal (6), Willock (NA)
Man of the match: Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Arsenal nearly held on, but the result means United are guaranteed a top-four finish in the Premier League, and need just four points from their last three games to secure second place.
Arsenal are sixth, three points above seventh-placed Burnley with a game in hand, but the defeat confirms they cannot reach the top four, and will finish below north London rivals Tottenham for the second successive season.
Wenger made seven changes ahead of the Europa League semi-final second leg on Thursday at Atletico Madrid, giving Konstantinos Mavropanos his debut in defence.
After Wenger was handed a gift by Sir Alex Ferguson before kick-off, United got back to business on the pitch and were ahead on 16 minutes through Pogba.
With Atletico Madrid in mind on Thursday, Wenger made seven changes; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Wilshere, Welbeck, Ozil and Lacazette dropped out, while Chambers, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang and Mavropanos, making his debut, came in. For United, Lindelof came in for Jones in the only change following the FA Cup semi-final win over Spurs.
Alexis Sanchez saw his header from point-blank range superbly diverted onto the post by Hector Bellerin, but Pogba was on hand to poke into the empty net from three yards.
In what was a competitive first half, Mkhitaryan came close to equalising against his former club moments after the opener, but dragged inches wide of the far post from 20 yards after Ainsley Maitland-Niles' backheel.
But after Romelu Lukaku was taken off injured after the break, Mkhitaryan made it second-time lucky, striking through the legs of Victor Lindelof and into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
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At the end of an uneventful second half, United thought they had won it when sub Marcus Rashford deflected the ball home from close range after Fellaini's header had ricocheted off the post, but he was rightly flagged offside.
United did win it moments later through Fellaini, who rose highest in the area to meet Young's fine cross and loop a header into the far corner beyond the grasp of David Ospina.
Jose Mourinho: "If it was a draw it wouldn't be unfair. They did a good game. No pressure for them, they defended well and of course we were the team that tried to win and had a few more chances. We were a bit lucky when we scored in the last couple of minutes, but were stronger in the last 20."
Arsene Wenger: "Overall the team performance was very positive for such a young team and of course they are very disappointed in the dressing room because they gave everything. You could see in the last 20 minutes some of them are not used to that pace and intensity. It's difficult to find a bad performance in the team, but we had a bad result."
Man of the match - Ainsley Maitland-Niles
There were a handful of positives for Arsenal to take away from Old Trafford, in particular Maitland-Niles' role in midfield.
He won possession five times, and covered the second-most ground in the Arsenal side, completing 36 of his 39 passes.
The 20-year-old referenced how Wenger had been like a father figure to him, and Arsenal will be hoping the Englishman pushes on under the new boss in the coming seasons.
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Ashley Young impressed at left-back for United, setting up the winner for Fellaini with a trademark delivery from deep, while Chris Smalling was nothing more than solid. Elsewhere for the hosts, Jesse Lingard was largely ineffective before being substituted after the hour mark.
Danny Welbeck started on the bench for Arsenal but came on for 25 minutes, and there was a nod to future major tournaments as young English midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles picked up the man-of-the-match award.
- Manchester United completed a Premier League double over the Gunners for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign.
- Arsenal have lost six consecutive away league matches in the top-flight for the first time since January 1966, when they lost seven in a row.
- The Gunners are the only side in the top four tiers of English football yet to win a single point in an away league game in 2018 (P6 W0 D0 L6).
- Arsene Wenger lost his final match at Old Trafford as Arsenal boss - other than the Emirates and Highbury, he lost more matches at Old Trafford in all competitions as Arsenal manager than at any other ground (17).
Arsenal now go to Madrid for their Europa League semi-final second leg clash on Thursday, while United travel to Brighton on Friday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League.