MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28:  Marcus Rashford of Manchester United celebrates scoring his opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on February 28, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Louis Van Gaal drops to the turf as Manchester United drop Arsenal in dramatic win

Coming into today’s meeting, Manchester United and Arsenal were chasing very different goals. Arsenal was hoping to get back into the title race while Manchester United was hoping to claw their way back into the top-4. In the end, it was United that came away winners, and Arsenal lost crucial ground to Leicester City and Tottenham.

United have been dealing with an injury crisis, but they get their all important keeper, David DeGea back. However, Louis Van Gaal was still without Anthony Martial or Wayne Rooney. The Dutchman turned once again to Marcus Rashford, who after scoring 2 goals in his Europa League debut, would get a chance for his Premier League debut.

Arsenal looked dangerous early, especially on the left flank, as Guillermo Varela was having trouble dealing with Alexis Sanchez. The first chance fell to the visitors, Monreal picked up a pass from Mesut Özil, but DeGea was equal to the challenge. From then on United started to grow in confidence, and after 29 minutes it was the 18-year-old Rashford that opened the scoring. Rashford scored a right place right time kind of goal as the ball fell kindly to him after a failed Arsenal clearance. Rashford fired it into the top of the net, but he wasn’t done.

Just minutes later, Rashford was left unmarked and had time to ease a header passed Petr Cech. It was his fourth goal in his last two games and gives Van Gaal another attacking option he so desperately needs.

The momentum had swung firmly over to Manchester United’s favor and Arsenal looked all at sea, but the visitors managed to pull one back shortly before half-time when Danny Welbeck lost his marker and had a free header. It was just Welbeck’s second goal for Arsenal this season, as the striker has spent a great deal of the year on the injury list.

After the break both teams seemed to be playing it cautious, but after 65 Minutes Ander Herrera restored United’s two-goal lead. Herrera took a shot from distance that took a wild deflection off Koscielny, Cech had little chance to make the save.

It looked like United was ready to put the game away, but Özil just minutes later brought the game back within one. Known more for his assists, Özil was able to get to a loose ball and bounce a shot into the back of the net.

3-2 would be the final score, but the game would not end without incident. There were plenty of moments of tension, particularly when Herrea and Aaron Ramsey came together for a little pushing and shoving. Depending on your point of view, Ramsey was lucky to only see yellow as his had came up into the face of the Spaniard. Referee Craig Pawson was content, however, to just show each player a yellow.

Van Gaal himself, got into the act when it appeared he was tired of the way Arsenal players were going to ground. Van Gaal protested to the fourth official and made his case quite theatrically by throwing himself to the turf. The internet will surely have a field day with that for the foreseeable future.

The game ended not long after, with no side really threatening to score any more goals. Olivier Giroud came on for Theo Walcott, who was essentially none existed for his 63 minutes on the pitch, but Giroud managed little more than a late header that went high over the bar.

United now find themselves only three points back of their neighbors City for fourth place. Meanwhile, Arsenal drops to five points back of league leaders Leicester. Even more bad news for Arsenal was the fact that Tottenham managed a late win against Swansea. Arsenal runs the risk of falling out of the title race, and they’ll need a bounce back performances to try and regain some of their lost momentum.

 

Harrison Prolic

About Harrison Prolic

Northern Illinois graduate with a degree in Journalism. Full-time page designer in Madison, Wisconsin. Part time follower of all things German soccer. I tweet about the Bundesliga and plenty of other sports @hprolic.

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