Nasri the deciding factor as Arsenal triumph in magnificent duel
Arsenal 2-1 Manchester United Barclays Premier League Saturday 8 November. Att: 60,106 Emirates Stadium A Samir Nasri double gave Arsenal their first win in four games over the champions to reignite their title challenge. The France international netted
Arsenal 2-1 Manchester United
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 8 November.
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A Samir Nasri double gave Arsenal their first win in four games over the champions to reignite their title challenge.
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The France international netted either side of the break in a magnificent dual between to the two most successful clubs in Premier League history.
Nicklas Bendtner missed two early opportunities to head the Gunners in front before Nasri's crisp volley deflected off Gary Neville and into the back of the net.
Nasri doubled the lead shortly after the restart with a stunning finish to a 15-pass Arsenal move to put the Gunners, who were missing first-choice forwards Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie, in the driving seat Both sides continued to create chances in a thrilling, end-to-end battle and United set up a grandstand finish when Brazilian teenager Rafael Da Silva volleyed past substitute 'keeper Lukasz Fabianski from the edge of the box.
Arsenal managed to survive six nerve-jangling minutes of injury time to seal all three points and delight a boisterous sell-out crowd.
"This was a very important result. Imagine what would have happened if we had lost," Arsene Wenger said.
"Mathematically it is very important to stay close to the top and to show what kind of determination and spirit we have."
And in a dig at his critics, who claim Arsenal have no natural leader, he added: "Football has evolved and the game is so quick that you need shared leadership, with five or six leaders in the team.
"We had 11 leaders. Everybody took initiative at the right moment."
Cesc Fabregas, who was magnificent in midfield, continued: "It has been frustrating, with the results we have had - to win a game like that is vital, to get back on track.
"When you see the fans singing and enjoying themselves, this is the best we have had this season."
Defeated Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson even showed grace in defeat, praising the victors.
"Sometimes you have to hold your hands up," he admitted. "If we are going to be beaten I want it to be against a team that plays great football, and Arsenal did that.