The visitors failed to notch up a single shot in the opening half, but Louis van Gaal’s men failed to take advantage and will likely now face a Champions League playoff.

Ander Herrera took advantage of some sloppy marking to hand Manchester United the lead, but Theo Walcott’s cross flew in off Tyler Blackett’s leg and the match ended 1-1.

The Gunners failed to register a single shot on target in the first half but were bailed out by Theo Walcott in the dying minutes of the game to secure third place in the Premier League table.

United could have had a second in first-half stoppage-time thanks to more lax marking. Daley Blind, completely unmarked, flashed a curling shot towards goal from Juan Mata’s corner, but captain for the day Chris Smalling accidentally blocked his teammate’s effort.

Arsenal continued to struggle immediately after the break. Alexis Sanchez volleyed well over the bar but Olivier Giroud fared much better, spinning Marcos Rojo in the box only for De Gea rushed off his line to block.

The United fans responded by pleading with their star goalkeeper to stay.

Falcao bade what very much looked like a farewell when he was substituted for Robin van Persie, waving as he walked off the pitch.

David De Gea was finally called upon in the 63rd minute, when Olivier Giroud spun away from Marcos Rojo in the area, but the Frenchman’s tame shot was dealt with by the keeper’s left leg.

That would prove to be one of his final acts of the afternoon and if the rumours are true, it may well prove to be a disappointing and anti-climatic farewell, as he limped off ten minutes later having tweaked something dashing off his line to punch the ball clear.

This meant that former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes made his Manchester United debut and was introduced alongside fellow substitute Tyler Blackett.

Valdes’ first meaningful act in a Manchester United shirt was to pick the ball out of the net after a Blackett own goal.

The draw means Arsenal remains two points ahead of Manchester United with a game in hand.