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Olivier Giroud heads home a late equaliser for Arsenal

Giroud salvages Arsenal a point

WT24 Desk

Olivier Giroud headed home a late equaliser as Arsenal snatched a 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday,Sky News reports.

Arsene Wenger has had little to cheer against Jose Mourinho in the Premier League but his decision to throw on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud late on proved inspired as they combined for the leveller after Juan Mata’s opener.

The late salvo stretched Arsenal’s unbeaten run in all competitions to 17 games, although Wenger has still yet to beat Mourinho in the league in 12 meetings and his team only mustered one shot on target in the game.

The result means more problems for United, who have picked up just six points from their last five Premier League games at Old Trafford. They remain six points off the Gunners, who have moved up to third.

In the absence of the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho, who engaged in a frosty pre-match handshake with Wenger, decided to start Marcus Rashford in attack and leave Wayne Rooney on the bench.

It was one of four changes from the victory over Swansea last time out, as Antonio Valencia surprisingly returned from a broken arm to replace Ashley Young at right-back.

The big news for Arsenal was that Alexis Sanchez was fit to start following a hamstring niggle picked up on international duty with Chile. Carl Jenkinson made a rare Premier League start at right-back, deputising for the injured Hector Bellerin.

United looked under strict orders to press Arsenal high up the pitch from the off. It yielded plenty of early pressure but little way of clear cut chances. Rashford and Pogba twice powered into space down the right flank but on both occasions their fine crosses were won by an Arsenal shirt.

Despite their high-tempo beginning, it was Arsenal that should’ve opened the scoring on seven minutes when Nacho Monreal’s cross was flicked on by Theo Walcott but Sanchez made a mess of the header from six yards.

Matteo Darmian, who was booked for a foul on Walcott on 25 minutes, was perhaps lucky not to receive his marching orders eight minutes later when going in late on Jenkisnon. Referee Andre Marriner felt one last warning was sufficient punishment.

The man in the middle was called into action again on 35 minutes when he waved away a penalty appeal as the rampaging Valencia took a tumble after a coming together with Monreal.

Mourinho was visibly seething on the touchline. The first shot on target in the game came on 37 minutes as Petr Cech got down smartly to push away a Mata effort after he had turned away from Shkodran Mustafi.

The pace of the game dropped after the break with Arsenal, who have the best away defensive record in the league, happy to sit in a organised shape and soak up United’s dominance of the ball.

Mourinho tried to inject some life into his team’s lethargic build-up play by sending on Rooney on 63 minutes. The extra man in a forward area created more space for the United attackers and they took the lead five minutes later.

Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera linked well down the right flank and the latter’s cross into the area was clinically dispatched from 12 yards by Mata – his fifth league goal against the Gunners.

Arsenal’s response was non-existent, until they burst forward on 89 minutes to net an unlikely equaliser. Oxlade-Chamberlin, who had been only on the pitch for four minutes, sent in a cross from the right and fellow substitute Giroud rose highest to power a brilliant header into the net.

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