Watch: Juan Mata gives Manchester United lead over Arsenal

Shaun Botterill

Juan Mata snapped a deadlock between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford Saturday, opening the scoring in the 68th minute of the clash of Premier League powers.

The sequence was sparked by Paul Pogba, who found Ander Herrera. His cut-back cross made its way to Mata in the center of the box, and the Spaniard placed a low, first-time effort into the net to put the Red Devils ahead.

The match was devoid of scoring opportunities, though United was denied on a pair of occasions in the first half–once by Petr Cech and once by the referee. Cech tipped Anthony Martial's goal-bound attempt over the bar, and Antonio Valencia had a penalty shout go unheard after a challenge by Nacho Monreal, much to Jose Mourinho's dismay.

The teams continued their stalemate into the second half, when Wayne Rooney–much maligned for being photographed having a late-night drink during the international break–came on in the 63rd minute. A few minutes later, United found its breakthrough from Mata, his third goal of the Premier League season.

Should United, which was playing without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic, hold on, it would pull within three points of fourth-place Arsenal in the league table through 12 games.

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