LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal had to overcome early nerves against Manchester United but the 2-0 win was reward for their patience and eventual sharpness in front of goal, manager Arsene Wenger said.
Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez all went close before Granit Xhaka broke the deadlock in the 54th minute with a shot that looped up off Ander Herrera.
Welbeck then added a second with a fierce header after good work from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right.
“That’s the kind of goal you want from Danny,” said Wenger. “It was a great goal. I am happy for him. He has all the abilities a striker needs. Hopefully, that will give him a boost.”
Although he did not respond to suggestions that Welbeck always does well against United, the striker was clearly delighted to score against the club where he spent 13 years.
“I grew up there and everything so it’s a special place in my life,” said Welbeck. “But once we get on that pitch, it’s business. When you score you’ve got to be happy, haven’t you?”
The goal was his fourth of an injury-affected season and, with a little more luck, he could have scored two more in the first half. Twice he was denied by last-ditch defensive blocks as Arsenal kept United under pressure.
A breakthrough was always likely but Wenger was delighted that they kept the belief that it would come.
“It was a patiently built win where in the first half you could see we were a bit nervous, in the second half we took the edge off and scored the goals,” he told SkySports. “It was a good win.”
Wenger believes their season is gaining belated momentum after victories over Manchester City, Leicester City and now Manchester United.
Once again they are putting together a late-season dash up the table, with a top-four finish still possible.
“Mathematically it is still possible but now we need some help from the teams around us,” said Wenger, who said he watched Liverpool’s goalless draw earlier in the day.
“We had a bit of luck today with the first goal. We started a little nervously but slowly got better.”
Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Pritha Sarkar