Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho had met 16 times previously as managers before Arsenal hosted Manchester United on Sunday.
Former Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck found himself at the end of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross and the striker made no mistake as he headed it powerfully past De Gea. “It was a great goal”.
After his past clashes with the Arsenal manager, there was only one flashpoint, when Mourinho expressed unhappiness at Wenger’s complaints to the fourth official about an attempted foul by Wayne Rooney. “It gives the young lads a boost that they can do it too”.
Before United could find a way to recover, Arsenal scored another goal in quick succession.
“I grew up there (United) so it’s a special place in my life”, he said. Rooney had two long range efforts late in the second half but Arsenal looked comfortable and saw out the win.
A breakthrough was always likely but Wenger was delighted that they kept the belief that it would come. “It was a good win”.
It was all Manchester United in the early parts of the match but Arsenal responded really well after that chance from Martial.
Asked about his side’s chances of finishing in the top four, he said: “Impossible”. By failing to score, they maintained their dismal run of failing to register a goal away from home against any of the current top six this season.
Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, top, jumps on Manchester United’s Jesse Lingered during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates stadium in London, Sunday, May 7, 2017.
Sixth placed Arsenal are now six points behind fourth placed Manchester City with four games to play, while Pep Guardiola’s side have only three matches remaining. “It’s the first time I see them smile, enjoy”. “We need everybody. We have such a small squad in this moment and these guys have a fantastic answer”.
“Three days later we have Southampton, and then Crystal Palace”.
With Darmian shadowing Mesut Ozil on the other half of the pitch, Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata – back after a seven-week lay-off with a groin injury – found themselves playing as auxiliary wing-backs.
They also have an FA Cup final against Chelsea coming up this month.
Mourinho made eight changes to his starting team from the 1-0 win over Celta Vigo in the first leg of the Europa League semifinals on Thursday.
The shake-up yielded a full debut for 19-year-old Axel Tuanzebe, who lined up at right-back but was charged with the task of following Alexis Sanchez wherever he went.
“Today there were no problems”, Mourinho said. It also demonstrates to people that I can play and the lads have more trust in me, so it’s a good feeling.
There is still uncertainty about Wenger’s future at the club, in spite of their still being in with a chance of Champions League football for the 21st consecutive season.