Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United: Arteta gets first win thanks to superb Gunners display
PUBLISHED: 21:54 01 January 2020 | UPDATED: 21:54 01 January 2020
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Arsenal started 2020 in style as they put in a superb display to beat rivals Manchester United 2-0 at the Emirates on Sunday, securing Mikel Arteta’s first win as Gunners boss.
A dominant first half wrapped up the victory, with Nicolas Pepe slotting the Gunners ahead on eight minutes before Sokratis doubled their advantage with a thunderous finish inside the six-yard box on 42 minutes.
The win is Arteta first since taking charge and the performance was packed with positives as Arsenal's new tempo, intensity, structure and solidity catching the eye.
Arteta made four changes to the side that lost to Chelsea on Sunday, with Pepe, Sokratis, Granit Xhaka and Sead Kolasinac coming into the team.
Pepe's inclusion meant he started alongside Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the first time since his club-record arrival from Lille in the summer.
And he made an instant impact as he opened the scoring on eight minutes.
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Aubameyang and Kolasinac combined down the left, with the latter's low cross deflecting off Victor Lindelof and into the path of the Ivorian who made no mistake as he slotted home from close-range.
The home side were having the better of the chances as Lacazette and Lucas Torriera went close, but they failed to turn their dominant and assured performance into a second goal.
They came even closer on 37 minutes as David de Gea gave the ball straight to the lively Pepe from a poor kick, with the winger finding space on the edge of the area and curling a shot off the base of the post.
Arsenal finally found the goal they had been craving on 42 minutes as Lacazette's flicked header from a corner was saved by de Gea, but the ball fell straight to Sokratis inside the six-yard box and he volleyed home to double the lead.
United started to dominate possession after the break and went close when substitute Andreas Pereira wriggled free in the box and blasted a shot into the side netting.
The away side continued to press as they searched for a way back into the game, with another substitute Mason Greenwood forcing a super full-stretch save from Bernd Leno as his low shot nearly snuck into the corner of the net.
Despite the pressure from the Red Devils, Arsenal held firm for a crucial win that was filled with positives and truly demonstrated the turnaround under Arteta.