Manchester United duo roll back the years as Arsenal draw a blank

Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic put on a second half defensive masterclass as Arsenal struggled to create any noteworthy chances during Wednesday's big clash.

The renowned defensive partnership looks certain to be broken up in the summer, yet the duo gave one last indicator as to why they won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Arsenal, boasting an impressive goal scoring record at the Emirates, huffed and puffed as they found no way through a stubborn Manchester United backline during the Premier League's big Wednesday night clash.

The first half was a pretty even affair, with Manchester United looking to maintain two solid banks of four and frustrate the Gunners with some intense pressure in midfield.

Just before the halftime whistle, Brazilian right back Rafael unfortunately had a nasty fall just before and was replaced by 35-year-old Rio Ferdinand, with Chris Smalling moving out wide.

The second half swayed more in the favour of the home side, who began to find spaces behind the United midfield. Bacary Sagna began advancing further down Arsenal’s right flank as he won his battle with French compatriot Patrice Evra.

Arsenal’s pressure began to tell as more crosses were coming into the penalty area, but United’s central defenders stood up and prevented Olivier Giroud from having any clear opportunities. The French international’s frustrations grew, as any half chance was quickly nullified by the defence – resulting in all five of his attempts failing to hit the target.

It was Nemanja Vidic who ultimately stole the show – winning five aerial duels, making 18 effective clearances and a vital three interceptions as the game petered out to a frustrating 0-0 draw.

David Moyes last week admitted that the Serbian defender is right to move on, but with performances of this ilk, finding an adequate replacement will be one of the Scot’s toughest tasks.

The result does very little for either team in terms of fulfilling their objectives, in particular for David Moyes. As a result of Liverpool's late win over Fulham, the Red Devils slip 11 points behind that all-important fourth spot – a gap which has all but ended United’s hopes of Champions League football next season.

image: © nasmac

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