Arsenal fell to an unlucky, if unsurprising, defeat at Old Trafford, as an extra time Marouane Fellaini header stole the points for Manchester United.

Arsene Wenger was presented with a gift from Sir Alex Ferguson before kickoff, and on Wenger’s last visit to Old Trafford as Gunners boss, made some bold decisions with his lineup.

His selections for this game left no one uncertain that Thursday’s impending second leg Europa League semi-final versus Atletico Madrid is our real priority. Youth was the forefront of our team, as Konstantinos Mavropanos made his first team debut, Ainsley Maitland-Niles took to central midfield and Reiss Nelson had a place in the attack, supplementing the returning Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

It was a lineup that showed we have strong prospects for the future, but in terms of winning at Old Trafford for the first time in years? It didn’t look rosy and most of our fanbase were not exactly optimistic.

The first ten minutes were cagey, but our experimental defence held firm, until bad luck struck and gave us an uphill battle to end our away run.

A cross was met by Alexis Sanchez, but the former Gunner’s effort was fantastically blocked by Hector Bellerin. Unfortunately, the loose ball was smashed home by Paul Pogba and United and Hose had the lead their play is well matched for. It’s well matched, as even though they had ample experience, they were still reserved, and lacking real bite. They seemed happy enough to sit on the lead, and we looked dangerous when Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang linked up, and it was the former United man who would get us back on an even scoreline.

Before that though, Mkhitaryan had a close effort that went just wide, thanks to Maitland-Niles who was busy throughout the game and really showed we have another option for the centre of the park should we need it. The youngster more than held his own and was a thorn in the side of the home team on multiple occasions.

The chances were not exactly thick and fast, but both sides had the opportunity to add to the scoreline before half-time, with Ashley Young’s cross hitting the post with Ospina beaten, and Aubameyang and Nelson going close with headers.

At the halfway stage, United were a goal up, but our team had done well not only to keep the home team to a single goal, but also to pose a threat at the other end.

Six minutes after half time, and Mkhitaryan added another chapter to the book marked ‘former player comes back to haunt old club,’ as Granit Xhaka hounded back possession and Mkhitaryan advanced into the empty space ahead before shooting low and into the corner with De Gea nowhere near saving it.

We had deserved the equaliser, but it sparked United into life, and they began to exert their authority and experience on proceedings. Sead Kolasinac went off injured soon after, and Danny Welbeck came back to his former club from the bench, as he replaced Reiss Nelson.

United were intent on getting a winner, and only a brilliant backwards header from Mavropanos stopped Alexis from latching onto a cross at the back post. We were being penned in and every attempt to break and find Aubameyang was falling flat.

The 89th minute saw United get a goal, with Rashford hitting home from a rebound after Fellaini’s effort hit the woodwork, but the offside flag rescued us. It wouldn’t be long before the pressure told though, and on the 91st minute, Ashley Young delivered yet another teasing cross that Fellaini got the back of his furry head to. It looped over Ospina and into the net and it was the winner as there was no time left for anything else.

It wasn’t the mauling we were expecting, and our youngster performed admirably, but it was so tough to lose in this way. It is also a great lesson for our kids too, that no game is finished until the whistle blows.

The stark reality is that this is our sixth straight away loss in the league, and we are still to pick up an away point this year. If we disregard the performance and look simply at the scoreline, then there is scant consolation.

We still have Burnley breathing down our necks for sixth spot, and next Sunday’s game at The Emirates versus the Clarets will decide the fate for both teams. Before that though, we have the small matter of our second leg versus Atletico - who defeated Alaves 1-0 away from home on the same day.

Let’s keep the faith that Thursday can be one of our famous nights in Europe, and Sunday can finally see off the challenge of Burnley in the league.