Arsenal back to their thrilling best in win over Manchester United
Mikel Arteta’s men were in a desperate need of a win after a shameful loss against Chelsea. It was also the first time that Arsenal had lost four consecutive games at Emirates in all competitions.
Arteta’s troops performed admirably well against Chelsea but with Bernd Leno’s mistake, Chelsea emerged with a victory.
The opponents they faced next were even more dangerous. Manchester United with a front three that caused problems to a lot of teams, looked like they’ll cause problems to this struggling Arsenal defence too.
All credit to Arteta, who set up his team very well. The match kicked off with a very early yellow card to Sead Kolasinac, who was given the job to stop a rampaging Daniel James.
With James’ first run of the game, it was clear that Arsenal will have problems dealing with this man. However, United failed to capitalize.
Rashford got an early chance with Anthony Martial unmarked on his right but the former chose to take the shot himself. The ball went straight into the hands of Leno.
It was then Arsenal, who started moving the ball without fear and as a result scored in the eighth minute of the game. The goal was scored by Nicolas Pepe, who scored his second home goal since September.
Kolasinac was afforded space because of a miscommunication between Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who should have closed down the left-back.
The ball from Kolasinac deflected after hitting Lindelof and Pepe was awarded a very simple tap in. Arsenal took great advantage of this situation, pressed very high, the tempo was good, the passing was crisp.
On the contrary, United were too slow on the ball and Arsenal forwards, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang retracted very well, adding extra bodies in the midfield that caused United many problems.
In the 42nd minute of the game, Arsenal were given a corner that was taken by Pepe. United were too lazy while defending and this allowed Lacazette to come towards the near post and hit the ball with the back of his head.
De Gea was quick enough to react and save the ball but it feathered via Lindelof, who had very little idea about it and ended on Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ right foot, ending up as a second goal for the Gunners.
The second-half began with a higher tempo and quick passing from the United team but Arsenal were too adamant to let the ball go into the back of their net.
Tactical changes were made by Arteta and now Arsenal were trying to play only on the counter. The possession was very much in United’s favor but they failed to make an impact.
Daniel James and Jesse Lingard were taken off and replaced by Mason Greenwood and Andreas Pereira respectively, hoping that United will score.
Juan Mata was also brought on in the 81st minute but nothing went in the favor of the away side. United were way better in the second-half though but coming back from a two-goal deficit is never easy.
With a strong performance by Arteta’s team, they moved in the top-half of the table just four points behind the fifth-placed Manchester United. The match also saw a reformed Mesut Ozil, who ran almost eight miles in the game, his most in two years.
Ozil was also seen very happy and everyone including the Arsenal boss and most of the football pundits around saw him this happy after a very long time.The majority of Emirates was pumped and the home fans witnessed a great display by Arsenal after a long time.
featured image credits- thestatesman.com
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