Jose Mourinho put all naysayers to shame with expert precision after Manchester United shrewdly trounced Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates on Saturday.
Antonio Valencia made the most of Laurent Koscielny’s loose pass by playing a one-two with Paul Pogba before driving the ball between Petr Cech’s legs to hand United the opener after just four minutes.
A second mistake by the Arsenal defense was equally punished, as Jesse Lingard doubled the advantage seven minutes later after brilliant combination by Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial.
Alexandre Lacazette threw Arsenal a lifeline soon after the interval, but the hosts were once again punished on the counter, with Lingard grabbing his second of the night.
The Gunners failed to ignite a late rally despite Pogba’s sending off with fifteen minutes left on the clock; United seeing out the encounter to secure three vital points in London.
City feeling the heat
Manchester United momentarily trimmed Manchester City’s eight point lead at the helm of the Premier League with the win to keep afloat their title credibility.
Although the Citizens kept their lead alive with a last gasp win over West Ham, Pep Guardiola’s charges are beginning to feel the heat.
The goals seem to have dried up for City, as they had to come from behind for the second consecutive game to register a win over the crestfallen Hammers.
Furthermore, Guardiola’s side has struggled over the last three League games, and may quite possibly be handed their first defeat of the season as the Premier League reaches a crescendo during the festive season.
Decent record over title rivals
The victory over Arsenal was a huge statement of intent, as it was the first time in over 10 months that the Gunners had suffered defeat on their own perch.
United have now amassed seven points against top four sides, with wins against Tottenham and Arsenal, a draw with Liverpool and a loss to Chelsea.
It’s neither a record to drool over neither is it one that would elicit dissent, but Jose Mourinho’s game plan against viable title contenders has paid massive dividends, one that will earn United crucial points in their quest for the Premier League title.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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