Supra-sub Giroud salvages point for Gunners against United

Olivier Giroud was Arsenal’s supera-sub, popping up with a last-gasp, and largely undeserved, equaliser to snatch a 1-1 draw from Manchester United.

The Gunners turned in a listless performance in this fixture a year ago when expected to win in their attempts to keep pace with Leicester City, Marcus Rashford making a sparkling Premier League debut for a youthful side, and they largely fared little better this time around.

Much more established just nine months on, Rashford replaced the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack for United – captain Wayne Rooney demoted to the bench in a week that has seen him in the headlines for a drunken night on England duty.

David de Gea did not have a single save to make before Juan Mata steered the excellent Ander Herrera’s cutback home with 20 minutes to play.

Looking to strike first among this weekend’s early title protagonists, Arsene Wenger racked up a 12th Premier League game without victory against Jose Mourinho.

Wenger’s decision to start a clearly half-fit Alexis Sanchez could also be called into question, given the Frenchman’s fears over a “suicidal” decision for him to play for Chile, but his decision to introduce Giroud when chasing the game proved to be inspirational.

Though a point will keep Arsenal behind Liverpool and Chelsea, the fight shown here – in stark contrast to last season’s corresponding fixture – suggests a sea change in the Gunners.

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