- A strong candidate for the game of the season so far?
- Arsenal’s early defensive exposure costs them the game
- Manchester United ruthless but not totally convincing
- United are the first side to come away with league win at Emirates since January
What a breathtaking ninety minutes of football this was at the Emirates. Viewers were truly treated to non-stop offensive action as Arsenal threw the kitchen sink at United, who rather characteristically defended in expected fashion and somehow came away victorious
Perhaps the most instrumental part of the match was Arsenal’s woeful opening eleven minutes. It was a shaky start for Arsene Wenger’s back-line as Antonio Valencia was left in acres of space down the right wing, totally unmarked and slotted home in between the legs of Petr Cech after just four minutes. Slight question marks as to whether Cech could have perhaps reacted quicker as he looked a little heavy footed, but nonetheless, a real hit and run start by the Red Devils.
Minutes later and the Gunners clearly hadn’t learnt their lesson as Jesse Lingard pressed hard and found-out Mustafi with an unforgiving loss of possession, which lead to a finely worked goal. The link-up play between Lingard, Lukaku and Martial was well-worked. The Frenchman showed quick feet to smartly offload the ball back to the initiator, Lingard, who unleashed a punishing shot into the bottom corner to put the visitors in a quickfire 2-0 lead.
Now it was Arsenal’s turn…
This was always a game with more promise to be just a routine victory for either side. The first half continued in the same dramatic fashion as twenty shots totalled on both goals, Arsenal having the majority and they came closest with efforts through Lacazette and Xhaka who both hit David De Gea’s post. The Spaniard wasn’t just counting on small fortunes around him though, he proved to be the hero of the game with some fine saves denying Bellerin and Kolasinac before saving the blushes of an own goal from his teammate, Romelu Lukaku, by spectacularly diverting the ball away from his own net.
David De Gea: Made more saves vs Arsenal (14) than any other goalkeeper has managed in a Premier League match this season pic.twitter.com/speOuptmCE
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 2, 2017
However, Spain’s number one couldn’t prevent Lacazette eventually giving Arsenal something to shout about after the striker tapped home from close range. Arsenal’s attempt to get the score level was hindered by De Gea’s as his heroics maintained throughout the second half. Shortly after Lacazette looked to have prompted a possible comeback for the North Londoners, Dea Gea produced a sensational double save to this time deny Lacazette and Sanchez on the rebound. The United keeper dealt with the ever-present danger which eventually paid off as United gave Arsenal a huge sucker punch on the counter attack, lead by Paul Pogba who out-muscled Koscielny in the box and set one up on a plate for Lingard to convert for his brace.
Arsenal, in fairness, didn’t let the two goal lead stop them from hunting something out of the game. They continued to search but United managed to see out final stages of the match in typical Mourinho fashion.
What does this mean for the league?
- United remain second and apply pressure to Manchester City who are flying in top spot.
- Arsenal drop to fifth as Liverpool win leapfrogs them.