EPL: Arsenal prove a point with 1-1 draw at Manchester United

May 18, 2015, 08:36 IST | PA Sport

Gunners stay two points ahead of Manchester side with draw at Old Trafford; strengthen their grip on third place and an automatic Champions League berth

Manchester: Arsenal took a big step towards securing third place thanks to a fortunate late equaliser at Old Trafford.

Theo Walcott celebrates Arsenal's goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Theo Walcott celebrates Arsenal's goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford yesterday. Pic/Getty Images 

Ander Herrera took advantage of some sloppy marking to hand Manchester United the lead but Theo Walcott's cross flew in off Tyler Blackett's leg and the match ended 1-1.

These two teams have engaged in some titanic battles over the years, but this was a very low-key meeting which will perhaps be remembered more for the goodbyes that took place, rather than the action on the pitch.

Falcao's goodbye
Radamel Falcao waved to all four corners of the ground when he was replaced in the second half. With a return of just four goals in 28 appearances, it seems unlikely the on-loan Colombian will be back next season.

And Real Madrid target David de Gea waved to the United fans as he came off with an injury in the second half and was replaced by Victor Valdes.

For United to snatch third place, they will have to beat Hull next weekend and hope Arsenal lose their final two league games against Sunderland and West Brom.

A fourth-place finish — and the Champions League play-off that comes with it — is almost certain for Louis van Gaal's team.

The match lived up to its low-key billing in the opening stages.

Keen to impress
Falcao looked keen to impress — as he has done all season. But the Colombian spent as much time on the floor as he did on his feet. Francis Coquelin, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal all muscled the striker off the ball early on.

The one time Falcao gained a yard on Koscielny, the Frenchman recovered to block the striker inside the box.

United's commitment could not be doubted. Ashley Young sprinted 50 yards to dispossess Alexis Sanchez, Antonio Valencia harried Monreal down the right and Herrera forced Santi Cazorla back into his own half.

But there was little for David Ospina to do. The Arsenal stopper's only save of note in the opening 15 minutes came when he collected Juan Mata's simple free-kick.

Manchester City stay second with 4-2 win over Swansea

London: Manchester City assured themselves of direct entry into next season's Champions League with a 4-2 win away to Swansea in yesterday's early Premier League match.

The top three sides in England at the end of the season are assured of a place in the group stage of European football's elite club competition, with the Premier League's fourth-placed team having to enter a qualifying round instead.

Three goals came before half-time at the Liberty Stadium, with Yaya Toure and James Milner putting City 2-0 up before Gylfi Sigurdsson pulled a goal back for Swansea on the stroke of half-time.

Bafetimbi Gomis equalised for the Swans midway through the second half before Toure made it 3-2 to City. Former Swansea forward Wilfried Bony made it 4-2 in stoppage-time.

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