Manchester United eked out a vital 2-1 victory over Arsenal to keep pace with Manchester City in the title race - and here are some of the reactions from the game.
It was a total team effort at The Emirates
It should go without saying that the Reds always need to players to step up in big games - and there were quite a few that did that against Arsenal. Everybody will mention how massive Antonio Valencia was with his fantastic performance which was capped by scoring and creating the two goals. However, there were a couple of other players - two defenders who have been openly criticized this season - had very good displays, as well. Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra both stood up and were counted, as both massively contributed to keep a potentially potent Gunners attack in check with timely blocks and composure.
After giving up the equalizer, it was pleasant surprise that United stood strong and went on to try and win the game. When you make positive changes, good things will happen - and hopefully Sir Alex Ferguson learns from that. Yes, with the Manchester City result earlier in the day, drawing was out of the question, so the manager was forced to bring on two attack-minded players to get maximum points.
Changes bailed out
Arsene Wenger subbed off Alexander Oxlade-Chamberlain and replaced him with Andrey Arshavin and that allowed Ferguson to make a positive change by brining on Ji-Sung Park for Rafael and have both him and Valencia attack down the right. That change, ultimately, led to the match-winning goal and it all started from that change. Once the goal went in, Valencia was able to drop into the right-back position and Park was able to add another body in the center of the midfield or wide on the right.
The game plan against Wayne Rooney was simple - get stuck in against him in attempt to get him to react. The Gunners were putting in challenges - or an attempted punch by Alexandre Song - to disrupt his mindset, and it worked to their advantage. Throughout the game, Rooney had multiple chances to play that defense-splitting ball, but he was either indecisive or his pass was off the mark - and he was more of hinderance than anything.
Since he has come back from injury, Danny Welbeck has been one of the best players for United - and that's not because he scored the winner, either. He never stops running and challenging for every loose ball - and that created a few half-chances that he nearly converted into goals! Welbeck's winner was instinctive - because if he thought about what he had to do the chance would've been gone - but instead it ended up in the back of the net and United had all three points.