Welcome to Manchester!
Man Utd 2-2 Arsenal
With the dust still settling on en epic North London derby Arsenal were thrust into action again with a difficult trip to Old Trafford. Playing Man Utd used to be just as epic as playing Spurs but recent history has seen the fixture becoming one-sided, Arsene Wenger teams failing to get a victory since 1998, the title win, (Wiltord etc.) With that back drop and the sight of Jose Mourinho in the opposite dug-out this match would normally be one were 'a draw would do', however with the Spuds result very fresh in the memory optimism was rife.
BT had this match televised with two of the most biased pundits in history sat in the studio in Rio Ferdinand ("This Arsenal side look poor") and Paul Scholes ("That back three is weak"), add to that 'Mr Arsenal', Tony Adams sat quietly with just the knowledge of "how we used to get it up'm". In the stands the viewer was treated to the cackles of Steve Mcmanaman in high pitched scouse.."what's he doing?"... "oh yeah, clearly a foul"..."I mean, just score".."nothing in that, he's ok".
BT Sport.... #godawful
The team news saw Unai Emery keep faith with the formation and team that wiped the floor with Spurs, the only forced change seeing Guendouzi replace Xhaka (suspension). Ramsey came in for Mykitaryan giving the Welshman the chance to wear the armband and Mesut, well Mesut was nowhere to be seen again, so sat on his backside playing Fornite for the German again. "Schizter my back hurtz"
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Holding, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Torreira, Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang
A ponderous start from both teams not surprising considering the efforts of both teams on the weekend, but Arsenal slowly started to get more and more possession, Kolasinac in particular was getting freedom on the left though his final choice of ball was letting him down.
MACCA: "He's just not a winger"
At the other end ManUre where huffing but not threatening at all, with just a corner and a routine shot from Rashford straight at Leno in the first 20 mins.
MACCA: "Really disappointing start from Arsenal, United look much the better side"
Despite this 'terrible start' Arsenal took a deserved lead on 25 mins, after sustained pressure a corner was rewarded. Mustafi just got away from his marker, and with his shirt still being pulled just managed to get his head on the cross as he was falling, choosing to head down (like you are taught at school). The bounce and pace of the header wrong footed De Gea and the united keeper could only parry the ball upwards and over the line as the defender cleared. It took a few seconds but goal awarded. A strong header from Mustafi and suspect goalkeeping from De Gea, 1-0 Arsenal.
MACCA: "Poor header from Mustafi, oh De Gea, what's he doing?, lucky Arsenal"
This prompted United into some attack, which was nice to see, they had looked pretty pale for the first 25, that was until Martial got away from Guendouzi, the young Frenchman attempting a tackle but missing the ball and the player. Obviously that's more than enough for a player to go down in the Premier League and so United got a free kick 25 yards out and central.
MACCA: "Yep, you can see the challenge, poor from Guendouzi, What's he doing?"
There's no Beckham or Ronaldo these days in United colours but still the free kick did enough to force Leno into a big save, pushing away from goal but not quite enough to go out.
As the ball was played back in, neither Iwobi or Holding reacted quickly enough and Martial was left with a simple tap in. The sight of Torreira attempting to head the goal bound shot, summed up the two sides of defending beautifully, one five foot five guy doing all he could two 6ft plus guys ball watching. 1-1, poor goal to concede.
MACCA: "Leno, what was he thinking?"
If Holding didn't exact cover himself in glory for the goal, his day got even worse a few minutes later, getting clattered by Rashford on the touchline whilst he was in 'mid twist'. The outcome was a stretcher, and a big injury, which is real shame considering he's probably Arsenal's most able football playing defender. Not much was said bout the challenge...
MACCA: "Oh yeah, he got caught a bit there"
For me, it was a foul, anywhere else on the pitch it's a foul, a follow through and a yellow. Just because it's on the touchline or out of play means nothing, memories of Alexis Sanchez disappearing down a cameraman's ditch at Stoke came to mind! Holding off Lichtsteiner on.
Arsenal players were dropping like flies, every little challenge seemed to leave them in a heap, then Ramsey went down after trying to make a challenge on Matic, leaving the Welshman looking in no fit state to continue, though he hobbled on. So by the end of the half Arsenal had lost Holding, and Ramsey, Guendouzi and Mustafi all limped down the tunnel. Who said this ManUre team were dirty?
The second half started with Ramsey coming off injured and being replaced by Mykitaryan. So two players down and one sub left which would have to be Lacazette if Arsenal were chasing a winner.
Kolasinac was again causing United problems with one twos' but again his crossing and final ball were poor, Torriera was giving back a bit in the tackle and Arsenal were generally the better team at the start of the half, with more possession. On 68th minute it was 2-1, Lacazette who had only been on the pitch 4 minutes, latching on to a lose pass from Rojo. With still plenty to do he played a one two with Mykitaryan and just as he was about to place the ball past De Gea, Rojo got back and fouled, though only sending the ball cannoning of Laczatte and rolling into the net.
MACCA: Yep that's an a very fortunate own goal for Arsenal
In the lead again, now to hold on and consolidate for 10 mins!
Straight from the kick off a long ball caught out Sokratis who missed the header, neither Kolasinac or Leno covered themselves in glory as Lindgard was there to poke home from close range. 2-2, another stupid goal to give away!
MACCA thankfully couldn't find any meaningful adjectives.. but Unai's face said it all!
What followed was United bringing on Fellani to go long treating Utd fans to 'Mourinho ball', bad deliveries from Mykitaryan, a cheeky goal from Lacazette (taking the ball out of De Geas hand and tapping into an empty net)... and a bit of this...
The action of Fellani pretty much summing up United tactics on the day! And well, it worked!
Arsenal never really looked like getting the winner and ManUre got a point. At the end it felt like two points dropped but after the exertions of the match against Spurs then you can't complain with continuing the unbeaten run.
Positives: Torreira again!
Negatives: Conceding poor goals, one wonders what Unai will do now with so many defenders out!
Leno: Will be disappointed with second Utd goal, but over all not bad. 6/10
Bellerin: Worked very hard all evening. 7/10
Mustafi: Looked tired. 6/10
Sokratis: Poor for Utd second. 6/10
Holding: Asleep for first Urd goal, but still Arsenals best playing defender. (Now out). 7/10
Kolasinac: Did well going forward, but final ball awful, as ever not much defending. 6/10
Guendouzi: Looked nervous at first but grew into the game. Still has some hair left. 7/10
Torreira: Absolutely everywhere again and gave as good as he got.. . MOM 8/10
Ramsey: Ran around a lot but didn't effect game like against Spurs. 7/10
Iwobi: Looked dangerous but no end product. 6/10
Aubameyang: Not his greatest day. 6/10
Mykitaryan: Gave the team balance, but doesn't do enough. 5/10
Lichtsteiner: Did his best to defend, but skinned by Rashford too often. 6/10
Lacazette: Scored the second and could have had a winner, if it weren't for those darn rules. 7/10
Next up a chance to get back to winning ways at home against Huddersfield.