Manchester United had to show plenty of fight to snatch a 2-1 win at the Emirates on Saturday night.
The Red Devils produced a stirring back-to-the-walls job but produced the goods when it counted to take a first away win of the campaign against Arsenal.
An own goal from Kieran Gibbs and a Wayne Rooney effort proved the difference between the sides as Oliver Giroud returned off the bench from injury to score a stunning consolation.
Arsenal was the best team on the night in every statistical measure of the game, besides the one that counted.
It is a tale all too familiar to the Arsenal faithful and by the time Giroud had scored to give the Gunners some brief hope of a Gunners’ comeback, the stadium was half empty as the home support expressed its discontent.
United on the other hand, relied on grit and strength to grind out a result.
Injuries forced United to field another changed side from the one which beat Crystal Palace 1-0, with manager Louis van Gaal opting for a back three of Paddy McNair, Chris Smalling and Tyler Blackett.
The trio struggled early on and in truth were saved by some woeful Arsenal finishing.
The worst culprit was Jack Wilshere, who failed to finish a stunning Arsenal when played through one-on-one with David de Gea.
The Spanish keeper was once again excellent, but was also helped by the fact most of Arsenal’s shots were hit directly at him.
United eventually settled into the game, though not before Luke Shaw had to be withdrawn for an ankle injury, but failed to create much from a string of four consecutive corners.
The teams went into half-time at 0-0 and the game did not change much in the second half.
The game-changing moment came just before the hour mark when Ashley Young – who played a fine game after replacing Shaw at left wing-back – put in a dangerous cross which forced Wojciech Szczesny into action.
The keeper was clattered by Gibbs with both falling to the floor, while the ball fell nicely for right wing-back Antonio Valencia.
Valencia smashed the ball towards goal, but with the shot going off target, Gibbs intervened while grounded to send the ball into his own net.
Still, Arsenal dominated the ball but as it searched for an equaliser, left plenty of space behind which Angel di Maria and captain Wayne Rooney were only too happy to exploit.
In-form United midfielder Marouane Fellaini picked up a cleared corner, fed di Maria who found Rooney on the break and the England and United captain made no mistake with the finish, lobbing his shot over the on-rushing keeper to make it 2-0.
United looked comfortable defending the lead until Giroud smacked home a beautiful left-footed finish to create a nervy final three minutes of eight added on, but van Gaal’s men held strong to seal the points.
The win moves United into fourth spot on the table on goal-difference, while Arsenal is left to linger in eighth.