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Monday, May 08, 2017

Arsenal beat Man United but where is the quality?

Arsenal kept their slim hopes of a top four finish alive with a 2-0 victory over Manchester United at the Emirates on Sunday - in a match between two troubled clubs.

Arsenal are in dire risk of ending their consecutive 20-year participation in the Champions League, while Manchester United who had never finished outside the top three with Alex Ferguson in charge, look likely to miss out on a top 3 spot for the fourth consecutive season under three different managers.

Arsenal's slow decline under Arsene Wenger has been well documented, especially this season, but they do look a little brighter with this 3-4-3 system and both Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain thought they'd opened the scoring in the first half but United keeper David De Gea showed his top quality with fine saves.

Granit Xhaka with a deflected shot and Danny Welbeck with a fine header scored in a three-minute spell midway through the second half to end United's 25-game unbeaten Premier League run, but this was a game between two sides that are only a shadow of their former selves.

For Arsenal it was a welcomed win against a headline opponent to keep a top four chase alive, while for Manchester United, it was a spotty performance from a pretty average line-up that was only 2-3 players short of full strength.

ManYoo manager Jose Mourinho had clearly decided that finishing in the top four of the Premier League was beyond his side prior to kickoff resting Paul Pogba and Daley Blind, and seemingly preferring to focus on the upcoming Europa League semi-final (and hopefully final) as the easiest path back to the Champions League.

Both clubs are clearly some way below their best, and have limited depth in the squad so have significant rebuilding to do - it will be interesting to see how each manager approaches the task during the off-season.

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