Full-time - 90'
2 - 1
16:15 +00:00, August 29, 2009
Old Trafford, England
Referee: Mike Dean
FULL-TIME: You have to wonder how damaging that result will be to Arsenal's psyche. A game their team were seemingly in charge of was wrestled from their grip via a controversial penalty and an hugely unfortunate own goal. How will they react to this setback? Not vintage from United but Sir Alex son't care about that. United have passed their first big test of the season.
Arsene Wenger was celebrating what looked to be an equaliser from Van Persie but unbeknownst to the Arsenal manager Gallas had just strayed offside so the goal does not stand. And Mr Wenger has been sent to the naughty boys's step for his protests to the delight of the United fans who merrily serenade his long lonely walk to the stands.
Fletcher clears from a Ramsey cross and Nani almost seals the win with a low shot that is too close to Almunia. His shot brings a fine save from the Spaniard (Englishman?) before Nani hits the rebound over.
Five minutes of time will be added on here. There is still time for Arsenal to salvage something from this.
Dimitar Berbatov gets on the end of a fantstic ball from Nani and repays his team-mate with a woeful attempt at the art of finishing which he appears to execute with his shin. Rubbish.
United have a corner which Arsenal desperately clear. Rooney then throws himself to the floor in an improvised attempt to prevent Bendnter racing up the park.
Bendtner puts over a useful ball from the right but it's just inches over the head of Eduardo. About twelve actually.
Vermaelen this time wastes an effort to the dlight of the United crowd and United decide now is the time to bring on Dimitar Berbatov to replace Giggs.
Giggs tries to thread a ball through to Nani but the United man is unable to get to the pass and Arsenal now break. Bendtner wins a corner for the visitors who are running out of time.
Sagna scampers back to block Park - determined play from the defender whose marauding runs must have exhausted him this afternoon.
Clichy has hit a hugely wasteful effort which brings only cheers from the United fans.
Cometh the final ten minutes, cometh Aaron Ramsey who has entered the fray.
Fletcher gets back to put in a great tackle on Sagna before Nani concedes a corner.
Great turn for Van Persie who is agonisingly close to playing in Arshavin who is striding towards goal but the pass is centimetres in front of the Russian.
Eduardo is coming on to a cacophoy of boos - is this game being played at Parkhead?
Sagna and Nani slug it out on the touchline and the Arsenal man wins the throw.
Denilson's cross from the right is knocked away by Carrick but Sagna now sizes up a cross. Nani does well though to win the ball back from him and Arsenal are starting to look a little tired now.
Sagna now joins the growing throng of names in the book for remonstrating too vigorously against the decision to award United a throw-in.
Another statistic that has just flashed up is the amount of efforts on target - four so far, although possibly a little unfair to classify Diaby's as an effort.
Rooney is caught offside for the second time in two minutes and that is the sum total of incident in the past couple of minutes.
Eboue has now been booked for diving and quite rightly goes in the book. Arsene Wenger registers his disgust by immediately hooking him for Nicklas Bendtner.
Careless ball back to Brown from Evra but the England international shows composure to get the ball clear.
Wes Brown has to chase back to block a Van Persie shot but the ball deflects back off the Arsenal captain for a goal-kick.
Rooney charges in search of a third and his shot has gone wide of the Arsenal goal as Eduardo warms up for Arsenal.
Diaby then almost makes immediate amends as he drags a shot just wide of the United goal. We have a game on our hands now people.
It's a terrible defensive blunder from Diaby who has headed the ball past Almunia whilst under no pressure at all. What a turnaround here and Arsenal, who looked comfortable, have self-imploded in the most unlikely fashion.
GOAL: 2-1 Man United
Wes Brown and Wayne Rooney are both in the book now and Arsenal have a free-kick in a dangerous spot. Van Persie's cross turns in to a shot and his effort strikes the bar to bounce away from the pack of waiting players. So close for Arsenal.
It was almost written in the footballing stars that Arsenal would face a similar incident to the midweek penalty claim of Eduardo but for it to happen in the very next game is sure to stoke this argument.
GOAL: Wayne Rooney slots home sending Manuel Almunia the other way for a goal that will rip open still further the midweek can of worms regarding controversial penaties.
Rooney goes to the floor via the outstretched arms of Almunia and the ref points to the spot.
PENALTY TO UNITED
Brown goes in hard on Van Persie but it's no penalty but at the other end...
Fantastic sliding interception from Evra who had Van Persie lurking just behind him waiting to pounce should he have missed that.
Neat control from Evra but Eboue clips his heels to take the full-back down and concede a free-kick. A worries looking Eboue then swiftly acknowledges his guilt to the referee which of course makes it alright.
United try a short corner this time but Giggs and Valencia conspire to make a hash of it and gift Arsenal a throw.
Fantastic pass from Fletcher to find Valencia but Clich has the legs to get back and put an end to the United man's run with a tackle that gives United a corner. Carrick's shot is then blocked by Sagna and United have another corner.
Valencia sizes up a shot at goal but his effort is well over the Arsenal crossbar.
Van Persie feints to shoot but decides against it before feeding Sagna who is being well marshalled by Evra on the right.
Arsenal are getting enough good chances to finish United here and Eboue's control was woefully misplaced as he received a long ball at the far post with only Foster to beat.
Carrick seemed to bring down Denilson but the referee was right up with play and signals that the ball was won cleanly. It doesn't do United any good though as Arsenal come again and Foster is forced to save United's blushes with an instinctive outstreched leg to prevent Van Persie sliding in for a second Arsenal goal after great work from Arshavin.
Clichy has done himself a mischief inthe shou8lder region courtesy of a stray Fletcher leg. Fletcher approaches the referee with a fixed expression of innocence which seems to convince the official and, after a brief exchange of words, we are away without the brandishing of any yellow cards.
I do believe a Dimitar Berbatov appearance will shortly be upon us as the second half gets underway.
HALF-TIME: Andrei Arshavin has put Arsenal on course for a smash and grab raid on the citadel of the champions. A win here would really throw down the gauntlet to the Premier League elite and announce clearly Arsenal's claim on United's crown. Back in fifteen...
It's played in but Gallas again is on hand to block a Wayne Rooney shot but it's another corner to United who will not want to hear the referee's whistle. The corner comes and Almunia flies from his line to take the high ball over.
Gallas again shows strength to head behind and Arsenal have to defend a corner. They do so well but Van Persie then picks up a booking and gives United a free-kick in a dangerous spot to the right of the Arsenal goal.
Just prior to that Arsenal were denied a stonewall penalty when Arshavin was taken down by Fletcher. There would have been no arguing about that one for sure but Arshavin has more than compensated for that refereeing oversight.
Andrei Arshavin has scored an absolute beauty with a fierce drive from the edge of the penalty area which Foster gets his hands too but can only deflect in to the back of his net. It didn't swerve and the United keeper should perhaps have done better but it was a belting shot from the Russian maestro and Foster was beaten by it's sheer pace.
Valencia shoulders off Denilson before finding Giggs. He gets it wide but Almunia stretches his lengthy frame to claim the cross as it is delivered from the right.
Gallas holds off Giggs and invites Almunia to come for the ball which, eventually, he does.
Better cross this time from Sagna who curls one in from the right but again Vidic is on hand to head the ball clear.
Terrible free-kick from Van Persie wide on the right which doesn't even make it to the United penalty area.
This has already got 0-0 written all over it my friends. What's this though? Another yellow card, this time for Evra who goes in late on the back of Sagna.
Sagna has brought down Evra on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area and Rooney gazes at the ball with all the intent of a drunk eyeballing a kebab at closing time. Unfortunately he can't quite direct the ball on target and the effort drifts wide of Almunia's goal.
Giggs charges through the middle and, looking up, plays a pass through to Nani who has gone off a bit too quickly - Giggs is quick to chastise his team-mate as the move breaks down.
Arshavin spied Van Persie and plays a quick one but the pass is blocked and United then find themselves three against two as they break. Giggs pass is poor though and is greeted with howls from the home support.
Arshavin lifts it up to Diaby whose control lets him down about thirty yards from United's goal. Moments later Brown brings Eboue down and concedes a free-kick.
Manuel Almunia smothers the ball after some casual defending from Clichy who take an age to make up his mind about a clearance. United were straight on it but Almunia smothered - meanwhile at the other end Arsenal go close with an effort that Evra knocks behind for a corner. Foster gets a hand to that before Arshavin opens himself up to steer a shot goalwards - he's just inches off target.
Congratulations Alex Song - the first yellow card of the day belongs to you for a poor tackle on Antonio Valencia.
It's a bit harum scarum so far with no real pattern to the game developing. The flair players have not had the time to put their mark on the game and neither team has really settled in to a rhythm.
Arsenal knock the ball around with their customary aplomb to play themselves out of trouble before a blast from the whistle signals a free-kick to the Gunners.
Arsenal clear their lines from the corner but United come again - this time Evra puts in the cross but Rooney (who is not happy about it) is penalised for leaning in to Vermaelen.
Fantastic tackle from Sagna who recovers to put in a firm sliding tackle on Nani. Corner to United.
Wasted ball from Nani gifts Arsenal possession in what was a promising position for the Gunners who now break with Eboue. He is careless in possession though and United get it back. This time though Giggs is unable to get the better of Sagna who holds him off.
Eboue shimmies and shakes and wins Arsenal a corner which Van Persie floats in. Wes Brown heads it straight back out for another and this time Foster is the grateful recipient of another poor delivery.
O'Shea hits a long ball up to Rooney who is unable to find the space to turn and shoot on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area.
United put together their first passage of passing play and, after a bit of confusion in the Arsenal penalty area, Fletcher takes a pass from Rooney with a neat chest which allows him to swivel to take a shot that goes just over the bar.
Valencia is spoken to for leading with the elbow which as any fan of Strictly Come Dancing will tell you is simply not allowed.
Ben Foster comes from the United goal and claims the ball as Arshavin curled it in.
Abou Diaby is brought down by the uncompromising Vidic and Arsenal have a free-kick about thirty yards from goal which Arshavin stands over.
Arshavin delivers a free-kick into the United penalty area but the firm head of Nemanja Vidic gets it clear.
Some slick interplay from Arsenal ends with a misplaced pass from a forward-thinking Denilson.
Nani goes for a stroll down the left but three Arsenal men are quickly around him to dissuade him as the United man is crowded out.
Arsenal get us underway in their dark blue kit and a full-throated Old Trafford roars us into action. Should be tasty.
The teams emerge via the magic of a tilting camera angle that makes me feel somewhat nauseous. Perhaps the forthcoming advertisements can tempt me in to purchasing a remedy for my ills.
No Fabregas for Arsenal but Andrei Arshavin is on from the start after beginning on the bench against Celtic in midweek. Eduardo will sit out the still raging controversy that game provoked from the bench for the start of this one.
Team news - United start with Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher in a three man midfield with Wayne Rooney marauding up front. Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen start on the bench with Antonio Valencia and Nani out wide.
Arsenal's mauling at the hands of a rampant United during their Champions League exit last season had much to do with a sterling turn from Cristiano Ronaldo. You may or may not be aware that he has moved on since then.
This evening's clash represents a far firmer test of Arsenal's mettle. Wenger had the upper hand in league matches last season with a last minute Samir Nasri strike giving the Gunners a win at The Emirates ahead of the goalless draw at Old Trafford that cemented United's title triumph.
Impressive though their start to the season has been, Arsenal?s victories have been won against a team reeling from the furore surrounding the imminent loss of their top defender, a side discarding bodies with the haste of a listing boat whilst chaos reigns around them and the second best team from a league whose mere name prompts howls of derisive laughter from fans of English football.
These days Arsene Wenger's rancour is mainly reserved for meddlesome UEFA and Scottish officials but he will be fully focused for the trip to Old Trafford.
Ahead of the clash at Old Trafford, a dreamy Sir Alex fantasised an idyllic scene of harmony with 'just the two of us, we'll probably ride out in the sunset together'. Get a room guys!
Howdy folks! Manchester United take on Arsenal this evening and the thawing of relations between the Premier League's two managerial behemoths continues with the pace of a melting polar ice cap.
Join us at 1715 BST for the first 'Big Four' game of the season as Arsenal travel to Man Utd.