Manchester United secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford with Park Ji-Sung scoring the game's only goal late in the first half. The win pushes United to the top of the league with a two point lead.
The South Korean headed in superbly off Nani's deflected cross in the 41st minute to settle a tightly contested encounter. Rooney then missed a chance to double the lead in the second half, when he blazed a penalty high and wide after Gael Clichy had handled in the area.
Arsenal didn't create too many opportunities and their best chance fell to Marouane Chamakh,
who missed the header.
Right from the start, there were tackles flying in all over the park, with both teams keen to take charge of the mid-field. Referee Howard Webb held back the urge to book players but just had to brandish the card when Chamakh cynically came behind Nani.
Both teams were guilty of some sloppy passing and the first half, though played out in great pace, did not create many chances. However, the home side threatened the Gunners' third-choice keeper, Szczesny, with some long range attempts from Rooney and Nani. But the Polish youngster did well to hold onto it.
Nani came closest in the first half, before the goal, when he shot first time off a poor clearance only to see his attempt drag agonizingly wide of the far post.
Park-Ji-Sung ensured the game wouldn't be goalless, when he stretched his neck muscles to loop a header over Szczesny and into the goal off the post, scoring his fourth goal against Arsenal.
The second half began in explosive fashion and Anderson was blocked superbly by Szczesny after Rooney had slipped him through.
Arsenal soon had a chance to equalize when Nasri's 20-yard attempt was palmed away by Van der Sar only as far as Chamakh, whose first time shot was blocked by Vidic. They should have been ruing their miss moments later when Clichy was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box, with Webb pointing to the spot.
Rooney, however, with a twisted run-up, blasted the penalty high and wide, nowhere near the goal. It was an ugly moment from a usually reliable player. However, he almost made amends moments later when he broke free and attempted an audacious chip over Szczesny. However, the Polish youngster was equal to it, brilliantly tipping it over.
Arsenal continued to attack in numbers, but failed to test Van der Sar. Arsenal missed the opportunity to stake a claim for the title, and announce their intentions. Up next is United's visit to Chelsea, which is crucial going into the Christmas period.