Arsenal faced Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on Sunday in a fixture that both sides knew would be important in the race for the top four.

Unai Emery’s team were quick out of the blocks, pushed on by the home crowd who were in full voice from the very start.  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette dovetailed nicely, providing plenty of options for the midfielders as soon as they won possession off a Manchester United team who had also started well. Romelu Lukaku came close when he hit the crossbar with a header, but it was the home team who struck the first blow with a swerving 25-yard shot from Granit Xhaka which wrong-footed David de Gea and nestled in the back of the net. The match was being played at a high tempo and both sides looked threatening in attack. Fred hit the post for United, and Lukaku was denied by a very good Bernd Leno save. Arsenal were using the wide channels well, with Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles working hard on and off the ball. The Gunners went in at half-time one goal up, knowing full well that there was still a lot of work to be done.

The second half began at a high tempo, but it was all hands on deck for Arsenal. Leno showed his quick reflexes with a superb save from close-range to prevent Lukaku scoring the equaliser. Arsenal were having to work hard as a unit in defence, but they always looked dangerous on the break. Lacazette was brought down in the 68th minute and a penalty was awarded. Aubameyang showed strong self-belief after having missed a penalty last week; he stepped up confidently and stuck his spot-kick away with aplomb. It’s his 20th goal of the season, and the Arsenal fans roared in celebration. Unai Emery’s team closed out the game and got a 2-0 win which they can be very satisfied with.

Arsenal will now focus on the Europa League second leg against Rennes on Thursday at Emirates Stadium.