A pulsating 2-2 draw which saw Jesse Lingard’s quick equaliser halt an Arsenal win at Old Trafford.
Unai Emery’s Arsenal came into the game in top form having just beaten Tottenham 4-2 in an emphatic victory at the Emirates stadium. Manchester United, on the other hand, drew their previous game 2-2 away at Southampton. They managed to claw back a 2-0 deficit in 30 minutes courtesy of goals from Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera.
An unusual day for a match of this stature – on a Wednesday night – and it was a game with a lot on the line for both clubs. Arsenal continued their fine form in recent months and are now 20 games unbeaten in all competitions. Jose Mourinho is still under high scrutiny and now United sit 8th in the Premier League. They find themselves a long way off even getting a spot in the top 4.
Arsenal were without Mesut Ozil and Alex Lacazette was only on the bench. For United, Lukaku and Pogba were on the bench and Chris Smalling was captaining the side.
Rare mistake for De Gea
Arsenal took the lead from a corner which saw central defender, Shkodran Mustafi rise above his opponent to head a powerful header into the ground. The ball bounced up at David De Gea, and there were questions over his save. He fumbled the ball into the net and Ander Herrera on the line was not able to stop the ball from going over the line. United responded well but Arsenal still had control of the game.
A free kick was given outside of the area, Marcos Rojo stepped up and forced a good save out of Leno. Herrera was on hand to feed Anthony Martial who had an easy finish from less than 6 yards out. The run by Herrera is up for debate as to whether it was offside or not. Officials have a tough task of trying to keep up with the speed of attacking play, but nonetheless, the goal stood.
United dig deep
Before half-time, Lichsteiner came on for Rob Holding who went down with a knee injury – we are waiting to hear the extent of this injury. At half time, Unai Emery substituted Aaron Ramsey for former United player, Mkhitaryan. This was because Ramsey was suffering with a slight injury.
Arsenal took the lead when Alex Lacazette got tackled from behind and the ball slowly trickled in past De Gea. Literally, as soon as the restart happened from kick off, the ball was now in the back of the Arsenal net. It was Jesse Lingard who capitalised on a mishap and a lack of communication between Leno and Kolasinac. Indeed, he was there to pounce on the opportunity and level the game for the Red Devils.
After the scores were level, United brought on Fellaini and Lukaku to try and turn the game in favour of United. Arsenal’s defence, however, managed to stand firm. Their backline withstood all pressure and shots that they were faced with.
Arsenal had a few chances themselves to win the game, at the end. Mkhitaryan snuck in at the near post but his effort was only able to clear the crossbar. Aubameyang had a finesse shot from 25 yards saved by De Gea and Mkhitaryan scored a goal but it was judged to be offside.
There were many fouls, especailly from United on Guendouzi to try and halt Arsenal gaining an advantage in the game. Fellaini even pulled Guendouzi to the ground by holding his hair so he is unable to move, but the referee didn’t even give the United midfielder a card.
A fiesty encounter saw a thrilling, end to end game and Arsenal will be looking to get the better of United when they turn up to the Emirates in March.