The FA Cup
Man UtdManchester United1ArsenalArsenal2

Manchester United 1-2 Arsenal

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Old Trafford
  • Man Utd's last realistic chance of silverware ends
  • Di Maria sent off for dive and grab at referee
  • Welbeck scores winner against former club
  • Arsenal 11-time FA Cup winners

Danny Welbeck returned to Manchester United as Arsenal's match-winner as the FA Cup holders secured a place in this year's semi-finals at Wembley.

England striker Welbeck, who joined Arsenal from United in a £16m deal on deadline day in September, scored the goal that gave the Gunners their first win at Old Trafford since 2006.

It ensures Louis van Gaal, the manager who sanctioned his sale, will almost certainly end his first season at Old Trafford empty-handed.

Nacho Monreal gave Arsenal a first-half lead but Wayne Rooney equalised with a flying header from Angel Di Maria's cross - the high point of the Argentine's night as he was later dismissed for two yellow cards after Welbeck had restored Arsenal's advantage.

Di Maria was first booked for diving, then tugged at referee Michael Oliver's shirt as he walked away, with inevitable consequences.

On a great night for Gunners manager Arsene Wenger, Arsenal are now huge favourites to reach another FA Cup final after drawing either Reading or Bradford City in the semi-final.

United had won 11 of the past 15 meetings between the sides in all competitions.

But the hero of the night was Welbeck as he punished the club for whom he scored 29 goals in 142 appearances before switching to Arsenal after Van Gaal brought in Radamel Falcao.

The Colombian was not even called from the bench amid United's increasing panic, which saw the great tactician Van Gaal end with the giant figures of Marouane Fellaini and Chris Smalling up front.

United have sailed close to the wind on many occasions on the back of average performances this season, digging out victories without looking convincing.

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal intensity was the key to Man Utd win

There was no reprieve here, though, and now a place in the Premier League's top four and a return to the Champions League is their sole aim for the rest of the campaign.

For Arsenal, this was a demonstration of the sort of resilience that saw them win at champions Manchester City in January and ends that recent curse at Old Trafford.

And in a season when so much criticism has been aimed at referees, praise must be reserved for a magnificent performance by Oliver, who remained calm and got the big decisions right in an increasingly frantic environment.

Old Trafford has been the scene of many low-key games this season - but there was a big-match atmosphere around the stadium as United and Arsenal produced a first 45 minutes to savour.

Arsenal's crisp passing had already caused United problems before they took the lead in the 25th minute. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the creator with a weaving run along the edge of the area before finding Monreal, who beat David De Gea at the near post with composure.

The lead lasted only four minutes, United replying with quality of their own as Di Maria's perfect delivery dropped between Arsenal's defenders to be met by the flying figure of Rooney, who directed a powerful header beyond Wojciech Szczesny.

Angel Di Maria has no excuse says Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal

Di Maria was looking much more comfortable, as well as dangerous, on the flank and he stole in behind Arsenal to get in a low effort that Szczesny blocked with his legs at the near post.

Van Gaal made a double change at the interval, sending on Phil Jones and Michael Carrick for Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, but there was no instant cure for the uncertainty that had plagued United's defence.

And it was in evidence again as Arsenal went back in front just after the hour. Antonio Valencia's back-pass sold De Gea short and Welbeck reacted quickly to nudge the loose ball around the keeper and roll it into the unguarded net.

Welbeck received warm applause from large sections of United's support when he was replaced by Olivier Giroud. There were some jeers mixed in but he clearly remains a popular figure at Old Trafford.

Seconds after that switch De Gea produced a miraculous piece of goalkeeping to keep United in contention, somehow clawing out Santi Cazorla's shot from Alexis Sanchez's cross.

United's play, as well as the noise from their supporters, carried an air of desperation and their cause was not helped by a moment of madness from Di Maria that saw him sent off with 13 minutes left.

It was one of many lows on a night when the frustrations of United and their supporters bubbled to the surface - and their trophy hopes ended.

Manchester United v Arsenal
Nacho Monreal scored only his second goal in 76 appearances for Arsenal
Manchester Untied v Arsenal
Wayne Rooney has scored in each of his past three FA Cup games against Arsenal
Manchester Untied v Arsenal
Manchester United have made the most passes back to their goalkeeper in the Premier League this season
Manchester Untied v Arsenal
Danny Welbeck scored his first goal at Old Trafford since January 2014
Manchester Untied v Arsenal
There have now been five red cards in the past eight FA Cup matches between Arsenal and Manchester United


Man Utd

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A Valencia
  • 12Smalling
  • 5RojoBooked at 64minsSubstituted forJanuzajat 73'minutesBooked at 87mins
  • 3ShawSubstituted forJonesat 45'minutes
  • 17Blind
  • 7Di MaríaBooked at 77mins
  • 21HerreraBooked at 37minsSubstituted forCarrickat 45'minutes
  • 31FellainiBooked at 59mins
  • 18YoungBooked at 60mins
  • 10Rooney


  • 2da Silva
  • 4Jones
  • 8Mata
  • 9Falcao
  • 11Januzaj
  • 16Carrick
  • 32Valdés


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Szczesny
  • 39BellerinBooked at 4minsSubstituted forChambersat 66'minutes
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18Monreal
  • 34Coquelin
  • 19Cazorla
  • 15Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forRamseyat 51'minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 11Özil
  • 17Sánchez
  • 23WelbeckSubstituted forGiroudat 74'minutes


  • 3Gibbs
  • 12Giroud
  • 14Walcott
  • 16Ramsey
  • 21Chambers
  • 26Martinez
  • 38Akpom
Michael Oliver

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamArsenal
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 1, Arsenal 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 1, Arsenal 2.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by David de Gea.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).

  6. Post update

    Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  7. Post update

    Daley Blind (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Mesut Özil (Arsenal).

  9. Booking

    Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Ashley Young (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal).

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

  13. Booking

    Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card.

  14. Post update

    Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) has gone down, but that's a dive.

  15. Post update

    Offside, Manchester United. Ashley Young tries a through ball, but Marouane Fellaini is caught offside.

  16. Post update

    Offside, Arsenal. Aaron Ramsey tries a through ball, but Olivier Giroud is caught offside.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

  18. Post update

    Hand ball by Nacho Monreal (Arsenal).

  19. Post update

    Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

  20. Post update

    Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.