Sir Alex Ferguson selected seven defenders in his starting XI at Old Trafford and one of them, Fabio, broke the deadlock after a superb counterattack in the 28th minute. Fabio was involved in the build-up, feeding Wayne Rooney who clipped a lovely cross to Javier Hernández at the far post, and the Brazilian was also on hand to covert the rebound after Manuel Almunia had pushed Hernández’s header across goal.
Arsenal would have drawn level through Laurent Koscielny in the 47th minute had Edwin van der Sar not made a full-length save to deny the French defender, and from United’s next attack it was 2-0. Again Hernández was denied, and again the loose ball was dispatched as Rooney glanced a header in off the post.
A tough week for Arsenal, who were eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday by Barcelona, was compounded by an injury to Johan Djourou. The Swiss international was treated on the field for six minutes late on before being carried off on a stretcher.
In the early match, Bolton ended Birmingham’s dream of an FA and League Cup double when Korea Republic international Lee Chung-Yong headed past Ben Foster in the 90th minute to secure a 3-2 win. Before that, Bolton twice led through Johan Elmander and a Kevin Davies penalty, only to be pegged back by equalising goals from Cameron Jerome and a brilliant Kevin Phillips lob.
Stoke City will face West Ham on Sunday, when the only club from outside the Premier League, Reading, travel to Manchester City.