Mikel Arteta earned his first win as Arsenal boss as the Gunners produced a powerful first-half performance to beat a lacklustre Manchester United.
The visitors, who were without the injured Paul Pogba, actually began brightly, but the game took a different turn on eight minutes when Nicolas Pepe steered in his fifth goal of the season after Sead Kolasinac’s cross was deflected to him.
That led to a first half in which the hosts were in control and Pepe hit the post before they doubled their lead when his corner was smashed in from close range by Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s side came into the game with one loss in their previous nine games, and although they improved after the break, they rarely tested Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
It was characteristic of a stop-start season in which they are yet to win three Premier League games in a row.
The defeat leaves them fifth in the table, five points behind Chelsea, who drew with Brighton earlier in the day.
Victory for Arsenal ended a run of seven home games without a win in all competitions and lifted them to 10th place, four points behind United.
But they remain closer to the relegation zone than the top four.
Pepe peps up Arsenal
There has been evidence of a lift in Arsenal’s three performances since Arteta was appointed, but without a win, questions remained as to whether he was the right man to take over from former boss Unai Emery, given his lack of experience as a manager.
Arteta was just an onlooker in the stands for the lifeless draw at Everton, but that was followed by a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Boxing Day and a crushing late defeat by Chelsea at home last Sunday.
This was a different game altogether, though, as Arsenal put the pieces together. With Granit Xhaka, who has been linked with a move to Hertha Berlin, restored to the midfield, the Swiss and Lucas Torreira were quicker to the tackle than their opponents.
Pepe was also at the heart of their attacking endeavour as they were roared on by their fans.
After scoring early on, he sent United left-back Luke Shaw halfway down the Holloway Road with a sharp turn before setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who sliced a volley over.
The Ivorian then fed Alexandre Lacazette, who somehow hit his shot out for a throw-in from about six yards out, before Torreira went close from another Pepe pass.
The hosts had to withstand greater pressure from Solskjaer’s side in the second period but in contrast to the Chelsea defeat, when they conceded twice in the last seven minutes, Arteta’s side managed the game well.
Their only concerns were injuries to Kolasinac and Lacazette, who were both taken off in the second half.
Pogba-less United show further cause for concern
Manchester United improved after the break, but it would have been hard not to do so after a poor first half.
Marcus Rashford had tested Bernd Leno in the first minute, but once they went behind to Pepe’s opener, they struggled to match Arsenal’s superior energy in midfield.
Jesse Lingard, who returned to the starting line-up, was hardly involved while Nemanja Matic could not get to grips with Mesut Ozil, Torreira or Xhaka, who were often one step ahead.
It was another game where Solskjaer’s team missed the influence of Pogba, who has not started a game in three months. After the game, the United boss said the French midfielder had picked up an ankle injury which would need an operation that would keep him out for “three or four weeks”.
Prior to the game, it had been hinted that Pogba would be fit to play.
United did lift their game once Lingard was substituted, with his replacement Andreas Pereira almost making an instant impact as he hit the side netting.
There were also chances for Fred and substitute Mason Greenwood, but without the injured Scott McTominay, and the ongoing problems with Pogba, United looked short on creativity in midfield and need to find solutions quickly should they want to maintain a top-four challenge.
Man of the Match – Nicolas Pepe
Arsenal finally beat top half team – the best stats
- This was Arsenal’s first Premier League win this season against a team currently in the top half of the Premier League (P10 W1 D4 L5).
- Nicolas Pepe has scored all his five goals for Arsenal in all competitions in London – four at the Emirates and one at London Stadium.
- Arsenal have scored eight goals via corners in the Premier League this season, two more than any other team.
- Manchester United have now lost four of their past five away Premier League visits to Arsenal (W1).
Arsenal host Leeds on Monday, 6 January in the FA Cup third round (kick-off 19:56 GMT), while Manchester United travel to Wolves on Saturday, 4 January (kick-off 17:31) in a repeat of their quarter-final defeat last season.
Manchester City are yet to agree compensation with Arsenal that would allow the Gunners to name Mikel Arteta as their new manager.
Arsenal are finalising the paperwork for City’s assistant manager, 37, to replace Unai Emery.
Arteta was at Oxford on Wednesday night for City’s Carabao Cup quarter-final but it is expected Arsenal will be able to appoint him later this week.
However, City are growing increasingly agitated by Arsenal’s conduct.
It is understood there has still not been formal contact between the clubs, with a seven-figure release clause yet to be agreed.
Arteta has kept Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola fully informed of the situation.
A Manchester City source said: “It’s surprising to hear that plans are being made by Arsenal to unveil our coach as their head coach on Friday on the basis that no contact has been made by the club to discuss this matter.”
Speaking after City’s 3-1 win over Oxford United, Guardiola said: “This season he’s [Arteta] been with us, we prepare the game as best as possible, before and during.
“I don’t have any comment, there is no news. Yesterday I had 48 questions about Mikel, when there’s news I will answer it but there’s no news.
“I answer the questions, I don’t answer any more.”
A man found dead in north-west London was killed in a drive-by shooting, police said.
The 24-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound in Malden Road, Kentish Town, late on Sunday.
CCTV revealed two people on a moped had pulled up to the victim, pulled out a gun and fired at close range. The man died at the scene.
An eyewitness described how he tried to perform CPR on the man with the help of a 999 operator.
Will, who did not want to give his full name, said: “There were a number of people around him when I got down there, but nobody was doing anything.
“With the aid of the operator on the phone, I performed CPR. But I think he was already dead then.”
Officers said they were keen to trace people who had been in a Toyota Prius, a Ford Focus and a motorbike in the area at the time.
The man’s next of kin have been informed and post-mortem tests are due to be held on Tuesday, police said.
Det Ch Insp Simon Stancombe, from the Met Police, said: “Everything we have found out so far points to this being a drive-by shooting.”
He urged eyewitnesses or anyone with dashcam footage to contact the force.
The killing was the second fatal shooting in less than 12 hours in London.
A man in his 20s was shot dead in Sydenham, south-east London, on Sunday afternoon.
A man who filmed a cardboard effigy of Grenfell Tower being burned on a bonfire has been cleared of posting “grossly offensive” material.
Paul Bussetti shared the video which he took at a party in south London on WhatsApp, and it was subsequently posted on YouTube, the court heard.
Prosecutors claimed it was racist but he said the figures on the model were meant to represent him and his friends.
The 47-year-old was found not guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Last-minute disclosure of evidence revealed on Thursday afternoon that a second video of the incident had been taken by someone else.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said: “I cannot be sure the video relied on by the Crown is the one taken by the defendant.”
The clip of the cardboard building, which had “Grenfell Tower” written on it, was recorded at a party attended by about 30 people on 3 November last year.
It sparked outrage online and a relative of one of the 72 people who died in the blaze on 14 June 2017 said it was “revolting”.
Mr Bussetti, of South Norwood, had denies sending “grossly offensive” material via a public communications network.
He told the court the effigy had been created by his friend Steve Bull and was meant as a joke “about us”.
Asked who the characters on the effigy were, he said they were “the majority of people that were at the party” who had all found it “funny”.
One black-clad figure who was referred to as “ninja” was meant to represent his friend’s son who did martial arts, while his own image had been on the other side of the box, the Mr Bussetti said.
The father-of-two said he shared the footage with about 20 people on two WhatsApp groups but he had never intended it to go further.
When prosecutor Philip Scott suggested he sent the footage because it was in keeping with other “highly racist” content he shared, Mr Bussetti replied that it was “just banter” and denied being racist.
He also told the court he had not originally told police that the people in the tower were him and his friends because he was “scared” and “nervous”.’
As the trial drew to a close the prosecution was criticised for failing to disclose evidence until the end of the case.
It was revealed another video of the model being burned was taken by someone else and posted to a separate WhatsApp group, which the defence claimed had not been disclosed to them.
The person who filmed that footage, and the man who made the effigy, both said the figures on the model were of the defendant and his friends.
The defence team argued it is was not clear whether the footage which ended up on the news and online was that taken by Mr Bussetti.
His lawyer Mark Summers QC said: “We have very, very serious doubts about the integrity of this prosecution.”
Ms Arbuthnot said: “I am just appalled at the disclosure in this case.”
A man who used a Rambo-style knife with a 10-inch blade to stab a stranger to death following a row over a cigarette has been jailed.
Jahmel Riley, 25, was convicted of murdering Dennis Anderson, 39, in the early hours of 10 February.
Riley attacked Mr Anderson at an off-licence on Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, after he had been refused a cigarette.
He was sentenced to a minimum of 23-and-a-half years at the Old Bailey.
Judge Nicholas Hilliard said the killing showed the dangers of carrying knives.
“What might otherwise have been just a verbal disagreement becomes a murder case because the defendant was carrying that terrible weapon,” he said.
Jurors heard how Riley had been “hustling” customers at the Pay Less shop for a cigarette, when Mr Anderson responded: “Why are you asking for cigarettes? Why don’t you get a job like the rest of us?”
Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said a confrontation then began, where the defendant produced and unsheathed the large Rambo-style knife he was carrying.
Mr Anderson tried to disarm Riley and, as they both fell to the ground outside the store, CCTV showed Riley making a stabbing motion towards Mr Anderson’s neck.
The double-edged knife used in the attack was abandoned at the scene.
Riley claimed Mr Anderson was the aggressor and the stabbing was accidental.
However, prosecutors argued Mr Anderson’s injuries “told a very different story”, showing a series of deliberate blows to the upper body.
Mr Anderson’s partner, Leeane Manzi, said: “On the night that he was so brutally attacked, Dennis showed the heroic qualities that we all knew him for by trying to protect other members of the public and stop the situation escalating.
“This did not surprise us when we found out, as looking out for others summed up Dennis’ character.”
She added the attack had left their “hearts shattered and our lives turned upside down”.