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Manchester United vs Arsenal: Five key observations



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David Moyes’ Manchester United side recorded an invaluable 1-0 win over Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday to ensure the continuation of an intriguing title race.

Robin van Persie came back to haunt his former employers once more, with the Dutch attacker heading home the only goal of the game from a Wayne Rooney corner.

Here are the top five observations from United’s win.

Rooney outshines Ozil

Wayne Rooney

Despite the presence of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil in the visitors’ starting line-up, it was a familiar face that claimed the plaudits for his attacking prowess.

Wayne Rooney put in a man-of-the-match showing to inspire United to victory and looked consistently like the most dangerous attacking threat on the pitch.

This was coupled with a tireless work-rate and a level of dedication and commitment that was just not present in the Arsenal team.

Evans and Jones the future of United’s defence

With the futures of experienced pair Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic up in the air, the future of Manchester United’s defence looks bright.

Jonny Evans put in an accomplished performance, and made a number of key interceptions and clearances. Jones dropped back to partner him in the second half and put in a commanding showing to completely neutralise the threat of Olivier Giroud.

Going forward, Moyes can have faith that these two can be the heart of the United rearguard for years to come.

Ramsey needs to play centrally

A lot of the pre-match hype, quite rightly, surrounded Aaron Ramsey, with the Wales international in devastating form.

However, Ramsey struggled to get involved in proceedings from his starting berth on the right of midfield, despite coming of his flank to try and pick up possession.

He looked markedly better when partnered with Jack Wilshere in the middle, and to get the most out of the Welshman either Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini may need to be sacrificed in upcoming games.

Sagna’s delivery improves

Bacary Sagna

Bacary Sagna has receive criticism over the quality of his crossing this term, with the France international frequently taking up great attacking positions, but his delivery hit and miss.

There were no such concerns here, with the Arsenal right-back putting in a number of devilish crosses that were begging to be converted.

Write off United at your peril

Anyone who expected United to wilt into insignificance after an underwhelming start to life under Moyes has been proven wrong.

The Red Devils have improved steadily over recent weeks and this win brings them within five points of the Premier League summit.

Expect United to be there or thereabouts come May, as the quality in their squad is still there – even if Sir Alex Ferguson isn’t.