Arsene Wenger wad greeted like a long lost cousin by two of the most predatory managers in Premier League history: Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.
The former and current United boss have had their shares of battles with Wenger over the years, but on a sunny afternoon in Manchester, United showed some class as Fergie presented Wenger with a silver vase at midfield.
Then Mourinhio went out and beat Wenger one last time in Fergie time as Marouane Fellaini headed in the winner.
Three points against Arsenal guaranteed United will play Champions League football next season. Another four points from games against Brighton, Bournemouth and Watford before the end of the season would also secure second place in the table and their highest finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
“I think if you finish second it is the first time for five years,” Mourinho said. “If we finish second, OK progress, OK progress at many levels but not enough to be first instead of second and not enough to win the Champions League instead of the Europa League but enough to finish second, to be stable, to reach some finals but we need more.”
Mourinho felt United were fortunate to snatch an added-time winner but believes they deserved their victory.
“I think if it was a draw, it wouldn’t be unfair,” he told Sky Sports. “I think they had a good game. We were a bit lucky to score in the last couple of minutes but we were stronger in the last 20.
“We were the team that tried to win, we were the team that had a few more chances in the last 20 to 25 minutes.”
The defeat means that Arsenal can no longer mathematically reach the top four. The only way back into the Champion League next season for the Gunners is through the Europa League, which makes Thursday’s trip to Madrid and Atletico Madrid a must-win match for Arsene Wenger’s side.