Danny Welbeck’s second-half goal proved decisive against his former club, as holders Arsenal overcame 10-man Manchester United to earn a semi-final at Wembley.

Arsenal’s fast passing gave Manchester United a lot of problems and pegged them on the back-foot, as the Gunners’ left-back Nacho Monreal opened the scoring in the 25th minute, after a mazy Oxlade-Chamberlain run found the Spaniard, who curled it past David de Gea at his near post.

The lead barely lasted four minutes when United’s Angel di Maria checked in onto his left foot and crossed an in-swinger into Wayne Rooney, who headed home his customary goal against Arsenal to level the scores at 1-1.

Louis Van Gaal introduced double change at the interval, but Danny Welbeck proved to be the hero of the night, as he punished an error from United’s poor defence and the boyhood Red officially cemented his status as a Gunner, with raucous celebrations after scoring the winner in the 61st minute.

The drama then unfolded when Angel di Maria was booked for a dive, after a duel with Aaron Ramsey, but what followed was a moment of sheer madness from the Argentine, as he approached the referee, Michael Oliver, and tugged him on the back of the shirt.  

Oliver then gave the World-Cup runner-up a second yellow car and sent him off.  It was a big decision from the young referee; he remained calm and got it right in a night were tensions boiled over in a frantic environment at the Theatre of Dreams.

Arsenal’s win at Old Trafford was a demonstration of the new resilience the Gunners have got on their side after United had won 11 of the last 15 meetings in between the sides in all competitions.  The Gunners are huge favourites in the semi-finals and are seen to be on course to retain the cup. They will either face Championship side Reading or League One Bradford City in the semi-final, but Wenger will be weary of the possibility of facing these two sides, as the Gunners were knocked out of the League Cup by Bradford in 2013.

The other semi-final will be Aston Villa versus the winner of Blackburn and Liverpool.