Mikel Arteta recorded his first win as Arsenal boss at the third attempt as his side dominated proceedings in a 2-0 victory over Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on New Year’s Day.
Nicolas Pepe, who was handed his first start under the new manager, repaid the Spaniard inside eight minutes when a deflected cross fell into the Ivorian’s path eight yards out to score with a first time effort. The club record signing had a very productive first half before tiring out after the break and ultimately being substituted.
For all their good work, Arsenal looked to be heading into the break with just a single goal margin after poor finishing from inside the Manchester United penalty area. That’s when centre-back Sokratis stepped up to smash home from a yard out after the ball from a corner ricocheted around David de Gea’s goalline. It was the least the Gunners deserved and their eighth goal from a corner situation this season.
Manchester United offered little fight going forward even after the hosts took their breaks off the accelerator in the second half. David Luiz produced a rare man of the match display at the heart of the Arsenal’s defence as the three points moved Mikel Arteta’s side up to 10th in the table, now within four points of the Red Devils, who occupy 5th.