Chris Smalling Manchester United Olivier Giroud Arsenal
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling and Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud fight for possession during their English Premier League gameReuters

It wasn't classic Manchester United vs Arsenal, not by a long way – chances were at a premium, the volume was turned down considerably, the quality, especially in the attacking third wasn't there often enough. It was almost as if both teams had resigned themselves to their positions in the English Premier League table, knowing it was a sign of progress in itself, and with it cancelling each other out.

The end result of that cagey, sometimes exciting, but hardly often enough Premier League match at Old Trafford was a 1-1 draw, with an own goal from Tyler Blackett giving Arsenal a point after Ander Herrera had given Manchester United a first-half lead.

Manchester United will probably feel they should have walked away with all three points from their last home game of the season, after dominating Arsenal in the first half. Their goal, from a Herrera volley, off a far post cross from the excellent Ashley Young, was well deserved, but then they couldn't quite hold on.

Arsenal were the better side in the second 45, showing more purpose going forward, after playing awfully in the first. Their attacking players found more joy, not much, but enough, perhaps, to just deserve the equaliser, in the second half.

The goal came after Arsene Wenger finally made a couple of substitutions, bringing on Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott around the 70-minute mark for Hector Bellerin and Santi Cazorla, who had as anonymous a game as he has had for quite a while.

Those changes allowed Aaron Ramsey to go back to his preferred central position, and from that spot he pinged a delightful long ball to Walcott, who took on Blackett, a substitute for Marcos Rojo, and found a deflection off the defender which wrong-footed Victor Valdes, making his Manchester United debut after David De Gea was forced off – if it was for the final time in Manchester United colours at Old Trafford, we will have to wait and see – with a hip injury.

Arsenal looked the more likely to score the winner, finding a touch more rhythm to their attacking play, but in the end, to be honest, both teams looked pretty content at the result, a result which means Wenger's men only need two points from their two remaining games – against Sunderland on Wednesday and West Brom next Sunday – to clinch third place and avoid that pesky Champions League playoff.