The reigning champions were in desperate need of a victory to remain in touch with the top few teams and Rooney was delighted after he combined with Robin van Persie to deliver the knockout blow and send the club to fifth on the table, just five points behind the league-leading Gunners.
"We knew we'd have to win today at all costs. I think we defended really well and thankfully Robin got the three points and we got the three points, and I think it was a great effort from everyone," he told Sky Sports after supplying the corner for van Persie to head home in the first half.
"We knew we couldn't afford to lose today and we couldn't let Arsenal get 11 points ahead of us, and I think the other results today and yesterday...we knew a victory would put us right back in there and we're in a good position.
"We worked on free-kicks and corners as Arsenal have a lot of smaller players in the team and that could give us the opportunity to get a goal, and thankfully it's paid off."
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