Arteta earned his first win as Arsenal’s boss. His club produced a powerful first-half performance to beat the dull Manchester United.
United began the match brightly only for it to take a different turn in the eighth minute. Nicolas Pepe steered in his fifth goal of the season after Sead Kolasinac’s cross was deflected to him.
This led to the first-half in which Arsenal was in control. Pepe hit the post before they doubled their lead. His corner was smashed in from close range by Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
United came to the game with one loss in their previous nine games. Although they improved after the break, they rarely tested Arsenal’s goalkeeper, Bernd Leno.
It was a feature of a stop-start season in which they are yet to win three Premier League games in a row.
Their defeat leaves them fifth in the Premier League table. Five points behind Chelsea who drew with Brighton earlier in the day.
A win for Arsenal signified an end to a run of seven home games without a win in all competitions. Additionally, the win lifted them to 10th place, four points behind United.
Pepe ignites Arsenal
There has been an improvement in Arsenal’s three performances since the arrival of Arteta in Emirates. Though, the question remains as to whether he was the right man to take over ex-manager Unai Emery given his lack of experience as a manager.
Arteta was an onlooker in the stands for the lifeless draw at Everton. But, that was followed by a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Boxing Day and a crushing defeat by Chelsea at home last Sunday.
Altogether, this was a different game. Though, Arsenal struggled to put the pieces back together. Granit Xhaka restored to the midfield, the Swiss and Lucas Torreira were quicker to the tackle than their opponents.
Mesut Ozil covered 11.54 km, more distance than any other Arsenal player. Meanwhile, Pepe was at the heart of Arsenal’s attacking endeavor as they were roared on by their fans.
After scoring, Pepe sent United’s Luke Shaw halfway down the Holloway Road with a sharp turn. He then set up Pierre-Aubameyang who sliced a volley over.
The Ivorian, later on, fed Alexandre Lacazette who hit his shot out for a throw-in from about six yards out before Torreira went close from another Pepe pass.
In the second half, the hosts had to withstand greater pressure from the visitors. But when they conceded twice in the last seven minutes, Arteta’s side managed the game well.