Welbeck scores Arsenal winner vs old club in FA Cup
MANCHESTER, England (AP):
With one clinical finish, Danny Welbeck propelled Arsenal into the FA Cup semi-finals and made former club Manchester United pay for selling him last summer.
Welbeck marked his first return to Old Trafford by grabbing a 61st-minute winner in a 2-1 victory for Arsenal yesterday, in a matchup between the competition's two most successful teams.
It was Arsenal's first win at Old Trafford in 11 attempts stretching back to September 2006.
Angel Di Maria's 77th-minute sending-off for two yellow cards - one for diving and the other moments later for tugging the referee's shirt in protest - completed a disappointing evening for United, who are almost sure to go without a trophy for the second straight season.
United sold Welbeck for 16 million pounds (then $26.5 million) on transfer deadline day last summer, with manager Louis van Gaal saying the England striker wasn't up to the standard of the club's attackers.
Playing with a point to prove, Welbeck led the line well and showed great instincts to pounce on Antonio Valencia's underhit back-pass, round goalkeeper David de Gea and steer the ball into an empty net. His fist-clenching celebrations, in front of Arsenal's jubilant fans, were firm but respectful.
"You always want to do well when you play against your former club, to show you are a great player," said Arsenal manager ArsÈne Wenger, who added that he chose to start Welbeck for "psychological considerations".
Wayne Rooney's diving header in the 29th cancelled out Nacho Monreal's well-worked opener four minutes earlier for the visitors, who will play third-tier Bradford or second-tier Reading in the semi-finals at Wembley Stadium. Arsenal are the title holders.
Aston Villa, which beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0, were drawn against the winner of the replay between Liverpool and second-tier Blackburn.
In a choice that could define his first season at United, Van Gaal opted to sell Welbeck - who had been at United since the age of eight - and replace him with expensive loan signing Radamel Falcao.
Falcao has underperformed, scoring four goals, while Welbeck now has eight for Arsenal despite largely being a backup to Olivier Giroud and sometimes playing on the left wing. Falcao was an unused substitute here.