The Gunners hosted Manchester United at the Emirates in what would be seen as a thrilling Premier League match fixture, though for Arsenal hopefuls; this is the sort of match we’d have to swallow with a pinch of salt, as the scoreline didn’t tally with the overall performance by both teams.
Wenger ruled out Arsenal’s hitman Lacazette from featuring in this league match, but his name came with a bit of a shocker when the team sheets came out. It was the same lineup retained at the Emirates from when we faced Tottenham in the derby, as Wenger opted to unleash the nemesis of AOL.
Our lack of concentration at the defence cost Arsenal this match as the lost in a 3-1 scoreline, ending the 12 games consecutive wins at the Emirates. United didn’t take long to capitalise on the lack of concentration amongst our backline when they scored their first in the 4th minute of the game.
Four men all closing up Paul Pogba, allowed an advancing Antonio Valencia find space for himself in the Arsenal penalty area, leaving Pogba to pick out the run of Valencia – as the Ecuadorian made no mistake sending the ball in between the legs of Petr Cech and ended up in the back of the net.
A shambolic piece of play from Mustafi allowed the opposition score their second of the day, as his indecision led to him squander the ball to Lukaku as he was under pressure from Lingard. Lukaku advanced play to Martial who did excellently well to open up Lingard to hit in the second goal with just one touch.
Mustafi went down injured in the 11th minute after the goal was scored, feeling a slight knock as I hope he doesn’t get sidelined for too long. Iwobi, however, replaced him, as his introduction meant a change in our formation.
Arsenal then proceeded to threating United who really should thank De Gea for his heroics in this match, as he dealt with all the force we put out in the attack. He did well to save a Lacazette effort to the crossbar which had everything to be an Arsenal goal but the Spaniard had other ideas not to be easily beaten.
Lukaku came close to scoring an own goal but that effort was once more saved by the United keeper who had to stretch at full length to keep out that effort. De Gea made fourteen saves in the match, which is the most ever recorded in the history of the premier league by a goalkeeper.
Though it seemed Arsenal wasn’t going to get a goal in this match judging by how effective De Gea was in the first half, but the second half of the match would be different as Alexis, Ramsey and Lacazette produced a simple moment of magic that kept the United defence on a standstill.
A delightful pass from Alexis to Ramsey freed up the Welshman who tried to control the pass from Alexis in mid-air but wasn’t sharp with his control, as his loose control came to Lacazette who was sharp enough to make sure he buried the ball in the back of the net to register his 8th league goal for Arsenal.
For such a long time, Arsenal have cried out for an all rounded striker that can turn nothing into something; as Arsenal seem to have finally found a solution to this. Personally, I’m a big fan of Lacazette who gives his all when playing for the Arsenal, as he’s supportive of the team both in the attack and defence.
Petr Cech made a crucial save in the second half to keep out Lingard’s effort, as the saved effort went on to hit the post and Martial’s follow up attempt was blocked by Monreal. Over at the other end, Sanchez almost made it two-all when Lacazette forced De Gea into a superb save, but his follow up save would be highly appreciated by United fans – after he made a leg save to stop Alexis from equalising.
Manchester United further kept the game beyond the reach of Arsenal, when Pogba made a mockery out of Koscielny’s defending – fending off his fellow Frenchman’s effort to stop him before square-playing to Lingard to had the easiest of tap-ins in an empty net to make it 3-1 to United.
In the 74th minute, referee Andre Marriner showed a straight red card to Pogba for a stamp on Bellerin’s knee area. Though the Frenchman wasn’t deliberate with his action, he would, however, miss the Manchester derby for United in what is described as a must-win match for the Red Devils, if they’re to stop Pep’s City from running away with the league.
In recent weeks, Arsenal Wenger spoke of the level of officiating in the Premier League and how it needs further improvement, which was obvious to point out why. In the latter stage of the match, referee Andre Marriner refused to award Arsenal a penalty after Darmian swept aside Welbeck right in the penalty box.
A bitter pill to swallow when you look at the match stats and knowing we came out with nothing but just a beautiful performance. Yes, we lost the match due to our shambolic defence but I’m most proud of the team for not letting their heads down and kept grinding until the final whistle. Time to brush off the dirt on our shoulders and look onto the next match.