Arsenal 2 Manchester United 0
Xhaka 12, Aubameyang, (pen) 69

Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck either side of the break to inflict a first Premier League defeat on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United. Xhaka received Alexandre Lacazette’s pass on the right of the United defence. As they backed off, the Switzerland midfielder let fly from 20 yards. David De Gea seemed to have the ball covered, that was until it took a vicious change of direction to beat the Spain keeper for the opener. Romelu Lukaku hit the bar with the score at 0-0, with Fred hitting the post. Berne Leno denied Lukaku as he tried to round the Germany keeper. The Gunners doubled their lead after Lacazette was bundled over in the area by Fred. Referee Jon Moss pointed to the penalty spot, and up stepped Aubameyang. Having missed from 12 yards in the north London derby, the Gabon striker made no mistake this time to give Arsenal the win that takes them above United into fourth place in the table.

Arsenal made four changes from the side which drew in the north London derby last week-end with an attack minded line up which saw Aubameyang, Lacazette and Mesut Ozil all start. Alex Iwobi was a notable substitute and his performance from the bench when teams are getting tired may be a better option for Unai Emery.

The opening exchanges resembled a cautious affair, neither side appeared to go flat out. The Gunners were wary of United’s tried and tested tactic of hitting on the break, and through Luke Shaw and Ashley Young, they wanted to go to that plan. Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in particular were ready and thwarted United, while venturing forward at every opportunity.

Kolasinac fizzed two dream crosses from the left which needed just a tap in had Aubameyang or Lacazette gambled. After Lukaku hit the bar from ten yards, Xhaka took aim and struck a wickedly deceiving shot to beat De Gea for the opener.

Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho, and one sensed that under Solskjaer, United would re-group and not want to relinquish their unbeaten last six away wins record in north London. The Gunenrs had been six out of six wins at the Emirates and having gone a goal up, went searching for more.

Xhaka and Kolasinac in particular were having a good game, while Ozil was happy with his free role. Leno denied Lukaku with an outstretched leg as United passed through the Arsenal defence in the second half.

When Fred nudged into Lacazette’s back as the France striker bore down on De Gea’s goal, a penalty was awarded. Aubameyang stepped up, took a deep sigh before firing down the middle as De Gea went to his left. 2-0 and with 20 minutes still to go, the game was now about controlling the outcome for Emery’s side, while United searched for a way back in.

The Gunners held on for the win, and have now won 12 points from 10 games against fellow ‘big six’ sides in the Premier League this season.

Next up, Arsenal will hope to turn around a 3-1 first leg Europa League result when Rennes arrive at the Emirates on Thursday.