MATCH REPORT: Welbeck haunts former side as Arsenal beat Manchester United

Arsenal supporters

A feisty encounter saw Danny Welbeck come back to haunt his old team and manager as Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-1 in the sixth round of the FA Cup.

It can’t be forgotten that Welbeck was forced out by Louis van Gaal on deadline day, moving to north London for £16 million, with the Dutch manager commenting at the time: “We let him go because of Falcao, but also to allow the youngsters to fit in”. Falcao spent the game on the bench as Arsenal won 2-1.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s fantastic work on the edge of the Manchester United penalty area set Nacho Monreal up perfectly to score the opener for Arsenal . The left back found himself free in the final third after Antonio Valencia was drawn inside by Chamberlain’s footwork. His pass was also perfectly weighted, and Monreal slotted the ball past De Gea at the near post with aplomb.

Arsenal weren’t ahead for very long. Angel Di Maria, so heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford this week, cut inside on to his left foot before whipping in an excellent ball. Wayne Rooney showed the striker’s instinct, heading the ball past Wojciech Sczcesny.

Chances were at a premium for the majority of the first half, although Welbeck had an opportunity, meeting a Chamberlain cross, but his header was too weak to beat De Gea.

That was one of Chamberlain’s last involvements in the game. The England international picked up an injury shortly into the second half, replaced by Aaron Ramsey. Van Gaal also sought to tighten the game up at the start of the second half by bringing Phil Jones and Michael Carrick on for Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw.

Jones’ arrival did exactly the opposite. His inability to clear at the back led to Antonio Valencia’s mistake under pressure from Danny Welbeck, and the former Man Utd striker and boyhood fan rounded De Gea well before calmly hitting the ball into the empty net. Welbeck did not hold back with his celebration either.

 


Man Utd had opportunities to equalise, but a key moment in the clash was Michael Oliver’s decision not to send Hector Bellerin for what seemed like a second bookable offence. He was replaced shortly after by Calum Chambers. Smalling had the best of the chances, firing over from a corner with the net gaping. De Gea was also called into action again, saving from Santi Cazorla’s volley after beautiful passing play from Arsene Wenger’s side. His dive to his left and his strong hand stopped what should have been a certain goal after Alexis Sanchez’s left footed cross.

Di Maria was then sent off in the second half after receiving a yellow card for simulation. His reaction to that decision was what caused the referee to send him off, as the Argentine winger then grabbed the referee’s shirt in response. A second yellow in a matter of seconds saw the £59.7 million signing head for an early bath. Adnan Januzaj, introduced as a second half substitute, then dived in a far more obvious way than Di Maria. Bursting down the right, he was touched by Monreal, but took several seconds to go down in the penalty area. Oliver, who performed exceptionally all night, was not fooled despite the obvious pressure from the Stretford End.

Ultimately, it was the goal from Welbeck that wrapped up the game, putting Arsenal back at Wembley, where they won the FA Cup last season.