Manchester United vs. Arsenal is always one of the biggest fixtures of the English Premier League season. These two clubs have had many classic encounters over the past two decades. This latest match will be remembered for years to come, but not because it was a match that went down to the wire. It will be remembered as one of the all-time great performances in the history of the game.
United and Arsenal were heading in different directions going into this match. United have been searing-hot to the start the season and were undefeated going into the match. Arsenal had failed to score and had only taken one point from the first two. In addition to that, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas have departed from the club and their back line has been decimated with injuries. All of these factors contributed to a perfect storm for the Gunners.
United took the game to Arsenal right from the start. They got their breakthrough midway through the first half when Anderson chipped in a lovely ball that Danny Welbeck was able to get on the end of. In the process, he was able to beat three Arsenal defenders. Unfortunately for United, Welbeck would leave the game later with a hamstring injury, which was about the only thing that went wrong.
A couple minutes after the opener Theo Walcott won a penalty for the Gunners. However, the penalty was poorly taken by Robin van Persie and stopped by David de Gea. It is hard to say that one play could have greatly altered the game when the score finished 8-2, but this was a pivotal moment. Ashley Young scored a beautiful goal to make it 2-0 moments after the miss. Instead, of being on level terms, the floodgates had opened.
Rooney made it three with a superb free kick in the 41st minute, which effectively ended the contest. Walcott was able to pull a goal back right before halftime on a shot that de Gea would like to have back, but the writing was already on the wall at the point.
United started the second half feverishly and had several opportunities to increase their lead. The fourth would come in the 64th minute with another Rooney free kick. This time he fooled the keeper by going around the wall to the far side. A fifth soon followed when Nani found himself unmarked at the top of the box and cleverly chipped the goalie.
The misery for the Gunners would not stop. Park Ji-Sung came on as a sub for the Red Devils and would score the next goal. He was set up on the play by Ashley Young who was spectacular and looks like a wonderful signing. Van Persie was able to score Arsenal’s second soon after that when he hammered home from close range. That would be as good as it got for them.
Only three minutes later, Carl Jenkinson received his second yellow card for bundling over Young. Rooney would complete his hat trick in the 82nd minute with a penalty and finally Young completed the scoring with another sublimely curling shot.
United look like an unstoppable force at the moment, while Arsenal look like a train wreck. Although it must be remembered that Chelsea looked unstoppable at the start of last season as well. It is still incredibly early into the new season, but the performance of the Red Devils will go down as one of the greatest in history