Mikel Arteta claimed his first win as Arsenal manager in style as his side outplayed Manchester United to secure a 2-0 win at the Emirates.
Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis Papastathopoulos struck before halftime to reward arguably Arsenal’s finest 45 minutes of the season so far.
The Gunners started the game three times as many points off the top four as the relegation zone, but a first home win in 87 days hauls Arteta’s men up to 10th and within four points of United in fifth.
There were signs of encouragement for Arsenal in Arteta’s home debut against Chelsea on Sunday when only a late collapse saw a 1-0 lead turn into a 2-1 defeat.
However, this time the hosts saw the game through as a dismal United performance raised fresh questions over their chances of finishing in the top four.
For the first time Arsenal started with all of Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil together in attack and Arteta’s bold choice paid dividends eight minutes in.
Pepe scored just his second Premier League goal from open play since a £72 million move from Lille when he swept home Sead Kolasinac’s cross at the back post.
The Ivorian was suddenly brimming with confidence as he twisted and turned Luke Shaw before crossing for Aubameyang to volley just over.