After Robin van Persie's first-half header moved United to within five points of Premier League leaders Arsenal, the importance of the victory was not lost on manager David Moyes.
Despite a series of slips for the Reds' traditional title rivals over the course of the weekend, it was Sunday's narrow victory over the table-topping Gunners which ensured some headway was made in the champions' bid to return to the summit.
“This was a big result for us today," the boss told Sky Sports. "Arsenal have been in terrific form and we had to play well to get the win. I didn't think anyone was ever going to run away with the league.
"I think there will be a lot of ups and downs, it’s a close league this year and there will be a few shocks. We had one or two ourselves in the early part of the season, but I’m pleased that we’re showing a bit of consistency and momentum. Let’s hope it continues.”
United's all-action approach to the game wrested control from Arsene Wenger's side for the majority of the first period, but in the second half it became a sustained display of defensive fortitude - and nerve-shredding misses from United - to close out the victory.
“I thought we started the game well, and were very good in the opening 20 or 30 minutes," said Moyes. "In the end, I thought determination, effort and good play helped us in the second half when we were under more pressure.
“I thought we did that [restricted Arsenal] much better in the first half. We gave them a little bit too much room in the second half. But in the first half, we used that and made some opportunities. I actually think that our best opportunities came in the second half, and we didn’t take them. Overall, it’s three important points."