5 things we learnt from Arsenal vs Manchester United
This article treats 5 things we learnt from Arsenal vs Manchester United.
“Yesterday, Manchester United defeated Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates “. THE END?
If you stayed at home and saw just the scoreline, you would have imagined how dominant Manchester United must have being against Arsenal, and that in fact, is a logical mental picture. However, Arsenal produced probably one of their best attacking displays in recent years. Yes! You heard that right. The gunners won in all positive aspects of the match, bar the scoreline.
Arsenal kept 75% of ball possession, attempted 33 shots, from which 15 were on target, played 655 passes in contrast to United’s 25% ball possession, 8 shots, from which 4 were on target and 222 passes. How then did Arsenal lose?
The match has had football pundits analysing and discussing the ifs and buts of the match, a match filled with many talking points. Pogba’s red card, Welbeck’s penalty, Martial’s intelligent assist stand as talking points. However, in this article, I present the 5 things we learnt from Arsenal vs Manchester United.
David De Gea is the World’s Best Keeper
For a couple of years, De Gea has consistently laid claim to being one of the best Goalkeepers in World Football. Despite his many impressive displays for the Red Devils, he has always being overlooked in favour of the likes of Gianluigi Buffon and Manuel Neuer.
However, against Arsenal De Gea cemented his place as the best Goalkeeper in World Football at the moment.
His display between the sticks is one of the best ever individual performance by a goalkeeper in Football history.
He made an EPL high 14 saves which is equal with Tim Krul ( Newcastle vs Spurs in Nov 2013) and Vito Mannone ( Sunderland vs Chelsea in April 2014).
His double save to deny both Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez particularly stands out among the rest. De Gea has continually proved that goalkeepers have not just hands to save, but legs also!
The second point on our 5 things we learnt from Arsenal vs Manchester United is:
Koscielny, Mustafi & Co. Have Work to do
Even with De Gea’s heroics, Arsenal attacked well enough to get at least a draw. It was not to be though. Koscielny and Mustafi were responsible for putting United 2 goals up after 11 minutes. Koscielny’s misplaced pass created the opening for the first goal, while Mustafi, who completed just 50% of the passes he attempted while he was on the field was dispossessed in the build up to the second goal. The former was also easily out muscled by fellow Frenchman Paul Pogba in the build up to the third goal.
Despite these mistakes, Arsenal could have still stopped all goals, but players were reluctant to commit themselves to sliding and tackling at the right time.
In the build up to third goal, Granit Xhaka who was tracking Jesse Lingard left the English man unmarked to watch the drama between Pogba and Koscielny. Wenger needs to work on his defenders and reinforce them with some steel.
Jesse Lingard is not trash after all
When the team list was released, many felt that Marcus Rashford or even Juan Mata should start ahead of Lingard. However, he silenced critics with yet another impressive display for United. His two goals in the match show how clinical he can be when presented with opportunities.
He proved he is good at getting in good positions and also pressurized the Arsenal defence with his tireless running. The 24 year old proved he still has a place in this United team.
The fourth point from our ‘5 things we learnt from Arsenal vs Manchester United’ is
Mesut Ozil is Gradually Overcoming his big game phobia
Mesut Ozil has received criticisms for being invisible whenever it came to “big games”. After Arsenal’s 3-1 loss to Manchester City, he once again came under the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
However, in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Tottenham, he delivered a man of the match performance and registered one assist. In the match against Manchester United, he was ever present in Arsenal’s many attacking forays, delivering delicious passes and crosses throughout the match. He even sent a free-kick that was heading into the net were it not for Ashley Young’s timely intervention.
Despite the loss, Özil played a very good game.
After the match, he was seen talking to the likes of Antony Martial and some members of the united bench, thereby sending a strong hint of returning to play under Mourinho.
Jose Mourinho’s tactics have been justified once more
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a detailed article, analysis on the positives of Mourinho’s tactics. If you have not read it, click here.
Mourinho has faced lot of criticisms for his supposed “negative tactics”. However, against Arsenal, he got the job done. United got two early goals and were clinical all evening, and the few times they went forward, they threatened to score. After getting the two goals, United defended gallantly, although they had De Gea to thank for holding on that long before conceding.
After conceding, Arsenal threatened to equalized, but United sealed all three points and dashed Arsenal’s hope of a comeback with another well executed counterattack.
It remains to be seen whether this tactics should be trusted next week against a team like Manchester City. However, for now, Mourinho’s tactics have been justified.
Those are the ” 5 things we learnt from Arsenal vs Manchester United”
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