Arsene Wenger eases to victory against old foe Jose Mourinho as Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0

PUBLISHED: 17:56 07 May 2017 | UPDATED: 18:00 07 May 2017

Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny (right) and Manchester United's Anthony Martial (centre) battle for the ball at the Emirates Stadium (pic Adam Davy/PA)

Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny (right) and Manchester United's Anthony Martial (centre) battle for the ball at the Emirates Stadium (pic Adam Davy/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal team inflicted a 2-0 defeat on old foes Jose Mourinho and Manchester United at the Emirates today.

Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) and Manchester United's Henrikh Mkhitaryan (right) battle for the ball at the Emirates Stadium (pic Adam Davy/PA) Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) and Manchester United's Henrikh Mkhitaryan (right) battle for the ball at the Emirates Stadium (pic Adam Davy/PA)

Second half goals from Granit Xhaka and a Danny Welbeck header sealed a satisfying win against the Old Trafford side who clearly have prioritised the UEFA Cup over the Premier League as the best way to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The Gunners simply had to win today to keep up their faint hopes of finishing in the top four – and that they did quite convincingly as they made two changes to the side which lost 2-0 to Tottenham in the North London derby last Sunday.

Gabriel and Olivier Giroud made way for Danny Welbeck and the highly-rated Rob Holding as Wenger stuck with a back three.

United for their part played only three players from their 1-0 win over Celta Vigo in Galicia during Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first leg - Matteo Darmian, Ander Herrera and Henrikh Mkhitaryan

The eight changes included Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Daley Blind and Jesse Lingard dropping to the bench – with Axel Tuanzebe, 19, making his Premier League debut at right-back.

It was intriguing to know 19-year-old Congo born Tuanzebe arrived into this world five days after Arsenal beat United 3-2 in November 1997. It was even more fascinating to know how much the promising defender knows about those long-lost battles – when the whole world stopped to watch this fixture.

The opening to the match was played in an attacking spirit with Aaron Ramsey having a shot saved early on by an alert David De Gea as his angled shot was palmed away to safety.

There was plenty of endeavour and intent even if the end product was not always evident. Wayne Rooney should have scored 12 minutes before half time but Petr Cech – following on from his good form in the North London derby – blocked the England forward’s effort.

The second half started slowly in the spring sunshine – before two quick fire Arsenal goals changed the entire afternoon.

Firstly, Granit Xhaka’s long shot on 55 minutes took a deflection off Ander’s Herrera’s back to loop into De Gea’s net to make it 1-0 to Arsenal.

Then two minutes later former United star Welbeck powered home an excellent cross from right wing-back Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after excellent work from Holding won the ball to prompt the move.

Prior to this afternoon Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho had met 16 times - with Wenger winning just once when Arsenal beat Chelsea in the Community Shield in 2015.

This afternoon’s result was surely going to add a second win to that dismal total.

As Arsenal threatened more in the spring sunshine the crowd savoured watching old foe Mourinho suffer embarrassment as his team looked a pale imitation of a Manchester United side.

But as the game petered out Wenger, despite all the criticism heaped on him – a lot of it deserved purely in football terms if not the disgusting personal abuse – had the last laugh against his old foe.

Whether this satisfying win will be enough to change his critics viewpoint even slightly is another matter entirely.


Cech, Gibbs, Koscielny, Sanchez, Ramsey, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Bellerin), Holding, Monreal, Welbeck (Giroud), Xhaka (Coquelin)

Manchester United:

De Gea, Jones, Mata, Rooney, Martial, Smalling, Carrick, Herrera (Rashford), Mkhitarayan (Lingard), Darmian, Tuanzebe


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Sports News

Yesterday, 22:23

Gareth Southgate’s men capped a promising display with a deserved victory as an experimental England side secured victory thanks to Jesse Lingard’s first international goal.

Yesterday, 15:40

Arsenal fans can celebrate after midfielder Leah Williamson signed a long-term contract with the club.

Yesterday, 14:53

International breaks are rarely welcomed with open arms by fans who miss their Arsenal fix – but for football lovers this week is serving up some tasty ties with 14 players from the club set to be amongst the action. Find out more with Rosie Tudball’s comprehensive round-up.

Per Mertesacker has given a number of young fans with Down’s syndrome a day to remember as part of Arsenal in the Community’s excellent work.

Thu, 16:04

Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere has revealed Arsene Wenger told him he could leave the club last summer.

Thu, 15:51

Reports from Germany indicate Arsenal are ready to pay Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s buyout clause.

Arsenal legend Liam Brady has aimed stinging criticism at Manchester United pair Jose Mourinho and Alexis Sanchez.

Thu, 08:00

JD Sports in Oxford Street to host Joshua’s IBO, IBF and WBA belts on March 29

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now