After our match report, we cast an analytic eye over United's goalless draw with Arsenal...
The Match While Arsenal versus United is a rivalry that is most commonly known for its intense entertainment, this latest episode in the series provided a more cautious affair as both sides cancelled each other out at the Emirates Stadium. Robin van Persie twice went close to breaking the deadlock, most notably when the Dutchman’s header was palmed onto the crossbar in the second half, while Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla both tested David De Gea on a couple of occasions. A draw leaves the Reds seventh in the Barclays Premier League and 11 points shy of the Champions League places after fourth-placed Liverpool secured a late 3-2 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Quote/unquote “It was a tight game and they have been in the past. We won 1-0 at Old Trafford and it was tight, both teams had opportunities but it ended up 0-0. Overall, we looked quite compact and we defended well throughout the game and we had to do so. We had opportunities to score, even from the first minute when Robin had a great chance in the first minute.” – David Moyes
Star Men Unsurprisingly, it was the defenders who impressed most and Chris Smalling was among the best on the pitch, catching the eye at centre-back and then on the flank as deputy for Rafael in the second half. Nemanja Vidic enjoyed his personal battle with Giroud, while De Gea enhanced his reputation with a list of smart saves to rival Wojciech Szczesny for the Man of the Match champagne.
Sub-plots As was the case last season, former Arsenal striker Van Persie received an unwelcoming reception from the Gunners supporters, who took great delight in booing the Dutchman’s every touch. Rio Ferdinand also made his first appearance for United since the FA Cup defeat to