Arsenal fail to take advantage of Manchester United’s title-clinching hangover


Against a clearly half-speed Manchester United, Arsenal were kept off the board over the match’s last 88 minutes, left to hope a controversial Theo Walcott opener would hold up. But two 43rd minute mistakes from Bacary Sagna – a giveaway and then a foul in the penalty area – allowed Robin Van Persie to secure a celebration-less equalizer, leaving the match destined to finish 1-1.

That may be a just result, given the nature of Arsenal’s goal. Manchester United’s line was beaten in the second minute when a Tomas Rosicky pass into the right of the area allowed Theo Walcott, who had blown by Patrice Evra, to beat David de Gea far post. Replays, however, showed Walcott to be clearly offside when Rosicky played the ball; however, since the flag stayed down, the Arsenal winger was merely in an offside position (not offside, strictly) before scoring his 12th goal of the season.

Though Arsenal looked the more dangerous team for much of the first half, at one point they went nearly 20 minutes without a shot, let alone a shot on goal. Manchester United were able to stabilize after a flat-footed start and eventually got back into the match through Sagna’s generosity. Had the Arsenal right back not stepped in, United may have never emerged from the celebratory slumber they carried in into today’s game, having clinched their 20th league title on Monday.

By the second half’s kickoff, United were back, embarking on a controlling run that forced out any air left in Arsenal’s challenge. Fifteen minutes before time, the Gunners seemed to perk up and realize they needed three points, but by then they were second best. While 1-1 was a fair result, if one team were more likely to snatch a goal late, it would have been United.

Given how poorly the Red Devils played in the first half, it was a sorry turn of events for Arsenal – a home side that needed the points more than their guests. With the draw, Arsenal lose ground on Chelsea and stay only two upon Spurs, with top-four rivals carrying a match in hand. Against a United team with little motivation, Arsenal should have expected full points.

There are, however, two things working in Arsenal’s favor:

(a) Their run-in is ridiculously easy, particularly particularly compared to Chelsea’s. The Gunners are “at” QPR, host Wigan, then finish at Newcastle.

(b) Chelsea and Tottenham still play each other.

Arsenal are still on track for a top-four finish, but Sunday’s showing against an ambivalent United will stunt the building notion the Gunners were moving forward. They may be good enough to get back into Champions League, but against a team that didn’t seem to care that much about the result, Arsenal were only good enough for a draw.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).