Cazorla was involved at the other end on the stroke of half-time when he was penalised for handling Young’s cross inside the box. Referee Mike Dean had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, but Rooney wasted the opportunity as he fired his penalty wide of Mannone’s right-hand post.
Another poor miss from the Reds followed almost immediately after the restart. Vermaelen was caught in possession by van Persie who raced down the right and crossed for Valencia, who had temporarily switched positions with the Dutchman, but the unmarked Ecuadorian failed to connect properly from six yards out and skewed the ball horribly wide.
Arsenal’s hat-trick hero from the incredible Capital One Cup comeback against Reading, Theo Walcott, entered the fray in place of Ramsey on 52 minutes. He slotted in on the right wing, but it was from the opposite side that the Gunners created their first opening of the second period two minutes later. Cazorla found space before sending a low centre towards Giroud who turned and fired just wide of De Gea’s right-hand post.
Sir Alex instructed a change in United’s midfield on the hour with Anderson replacing Cleverley, who was walking a disciplinary tightrope after being booked in the first period and escaping a second yellow after a poor challenge on Wilshere minutes earlier.
You wondered if a second United goal would ever come when van Persie found himself in acres of space, clean through and onside, but the Dutch international saw his shot tipped round the post by Mannone.