Mikel Arteta earned his first win as Arsenal boss as the Gunners produced a powerful first-half performance to beat a lacklustre Manchester United.
The visitors, who were without the injured Paul Pogba, actually began brightly, but the game took a different turn on eight minutes when Nicolas Pepe steered in his fifth goal of the season after Sead Kolasinac’s cross was deflected to him.
That led to a first half in which the hosts were in control and Pepe hit the post before they doubled their lead when his corner was smashed in from close range by Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s side came into the game with one loss in their previous nine games, and although they improved after the break, they rarely tested Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
It was characteristic of a stop-start season in which they are yet to win three Premier League games in a row.
The defeat leaves them fifth in the table, five points behind Chelsea, who drew with Brighton earlier in the day.
Victory for Arsenal ended a run of seven home games without a win in all competitions and lifted them to 10th place, four points behind United.
But they remain closer to the relegation zone than the top four.
Pepe peps up Arsenal
There has been evidence of a lift in Arsenal’s three performances since Arteta was appointed, but without a win, questions remained as to whether he was the right man to take over from former boss Unai Emery, given his lack of experience as a manager.
Arteta was just 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 late defeat by Chelsea at home last Sunday.
This was a different game altogether, though, as Arsenal put the pieces together. With Granit Xhaka, who has been linked with a move to Hertha Berlin, restored to the midfield, the Swiss and Lucas Torreira were quicker to the tackle than their opponents.
Mesut Ozil covered 11.54km, more distance than any other Arsenal player.
While record £72m signing Pepe was at the heart of Arsenal’s attacking endeavour as they were roared on by their fans.
After scoring early on, he sent United left-back Luke Shaw halfway down the Holloway Road with a sharp turn before setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who sliced a volley over.
The Ivorian then fed Alexandre Lacazette, who somehow hit his shot out for a throw-in from about six yards out, before Torreira went close from another Pepe pass.
The hosts had to withstand greater pressure from Solskjaer’s side in the second period but in contrast to the Chelsea defeat, when they conceded twice in the last seven minutes, Arteta’s side managed the game well.
Their only concerns were injuries to Kolasinac and Lacazette, who were both taken off in the second half.
Pogba-less United show further cause for concern
Manchester United improved after the break, but it would have been hard not to do so after a poor first half.
Marcus Rashford had tested Bernd Leno in the first minute, but once they went behind to Pepe’s opener, they struggled to match Arsenal’s superior energy in midfield.
Jesse Lingard, who returned to the starting line-up, was hardly involved while Nemanja Matic could not get to grips with Ozil, Torreira or Xhaka, who were often one step ahead.
It was another game where Solskjaer’s team missed the influence of Pogba, who has not started a game in three months. After the game, the United boss said the French midfielder had picked up an ankle injury which would need an operation, keeping him out for “three or four weeks”.
Prior to the game, it had been hinted that Pogba would be fit to play.
United did lift their game once Lingard was substituted, with his replacement Andreas Pereira almost making an instant impact as he hit the side netting.
There were also chances for Fred and substitute Mason Greenwood, but without the injured Scott McTominay, and the ongoing problems with Pogba, United looked short on creativity in midfield and need to find solutions quickly should they want to maintain a top-four challenge.
Man of the Match – Nicolas Pepe
Arsenal finally beat top half team – the best stats
- This was Arsenal’s first Premier League win this season against a team currently in the top half of the Premier League (P10 W1 D4 L5).
- Nicolas Pepe has scored all his five goals for Arsenal in all competitions in London – four at the Emirates and one at London Stadium.
- Arsenal have scored eight goals via corners in the Premier League this season, two more than any other team.
- Manchester United have now lost four of their past five away Premier League visits to Arsenal (W1).
Arsenal host Leeds on Monday, 6 January in the FA Cup third round (kick-off 19:56 GMT), while Manchester United travel to Wolves on Saturday, 4 January (kick-off 17:31) in a repeat of their quarter-final defeat last season.
A man was stabbed to death in a fight outside a block of east London flats in a “particularly vicious attack”.
The 19-year-old was found by police responding to reports of a disturbance outside Owen Waters House, in Fullwell Avenue, Ilford, on Tuesday night.
The victim died at the scene and his next of kin have been informed.
No arrests have been made but the Met said “the possibility that the murder is gang-related is a very strong line of inquiry”.
Police are establishing if the stabbing is linked to a fire at some nearby garages where a car was found burnt out.
The Met said fire crews had been called to the blaze at about 22:20 GMT while traces of blood had also been found around the vehicle.
Det Ch Insp Chris Soole described the killing as a “particularly vicious attack” and appealed for witnesses.
A Section 60 Order – giving police stop-and-search powers – was put in place for the whole of the Redbridge borough until 06:30.
There have been five murder investigations in the borough in 2019 – three of which have been as a result of fatal stabbings.
Homicides in London since 2008
Annual homicides in the Met Police area
So far this year, almost 130 murder investigations have been launched in the capital.
Three investigations have been carried out by British Transport Police and 124 have been investigated by the Met.
At the scene – Greg McKenzie, BBC London
A forensic tent is outside the tower block marking the spot where the teenager died.
Residents have been telling me about rising tensions in the last few weeks. The block – just off a main road in Ilford – is known as a meeting point for drug dealers and people said the issue is “rampant”.
They have also described a lot of “youth disturbance and violence” in the area and expressed their fear, anger and shock.
Officers have been coming in and out of the flats and they are trying to work out whether a burnt-out car is linked to the fatal stabbing.
A second man has admitted trying to rob Arsenal footballers Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac in a moped ambush.
Jordan Northover, 26, pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to attempting to steal watches from the pair in Hampstead, north-west London.
His co-accused Ashley Smith, 30, of Archway in North London, admitted his role in the crime in October.
CCTV footage showed Bosnian defender Kolasinac chasing off the two masked attackers on 25 July
In the video, that circulated on social media, 26-year-old Kolasinac is seen fighting off two men who are wielding knives.
He can be seen jumping out of a vehicle to confront the masked men who had pulled alongside the car on mopeds.
In the footage, both carjackers were seen to be armed and were filmed brandishing knives at full-back Kolasinac.
World Cup winner Özil can also be seen in his black Mercedes G class jeep before he reportedly took refuge in a Turkish restaurant.
Kolasinac and Germany midfielder Özil were left out of the Arsenal side ahead of the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign after the incident.
Judge Rosa Dean said Smith would be sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.
Northover will be sentenced at a later date.
Özil told the Athletic sports site that he was scared for his wife Amine as the attackers pursued his car.
“Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers,” he said.
“I tried to move the car, block them, escape, but each time they would be there. My wife was extremely scared.”
A man has died and another is in hospital following a stabbing at a Tube station.
Police were called to Elephant and Castle station at about 23:30 BST on Sunday and found two men with stab wounds in a street nearby.
A 24-year-old man died on Monday and a 25-year-old is in a serious condition.
British Transport Police said it was “a shocking act of violence” and two men had been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.
Officers said they believed the stabbing happened during a fight between two groups of men and added they were treating the death as murder.
Keylin Tejeda, 32, from Elephant and Castle, said one of the victims was a regular customer at her pattie shop El Monte.
“I was coming from a restaurant with my partner and when we were passing by we saw him lying down.
“I could see who he was, I saw him. The ambulance were operating on him on the floor,” she said.
Det Ch Insp Sam Blackburn said: “This was a shocking act of violence and we are working tirelessly to identify and trace those responsible.
“While the investigation is still at an early stage, at this time we believe there was an altercation between two groups of men inside the Underground station and it is here the victims sustained their injuries before making their way on to the street.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the death “a senseless loss of a young life” and urged witnesses to contact police or Crimestoppers.
The death brings the number of homicides in the capital to a total of 92 so far this year.