A very inconsequential tie between Manchester United and Arsenal ended 2-1 at the Old Trafford tonight. Arsene Wenger received a wonderful reception from the Red Devils faithful including a token from his long-time rival Alex Ferguson.
The Frenchman expectedly rested some of his first-team players in anticipation of the mid-week fixture against Atletico Madrid and the result somehow showed on the pitch.
The hosts broke the deadlock through their French midfielder, Paul Pogba. Romelu Lukaku found himself one-on-one with Sead Kolasinac and was quick to lob a cross towards the far post. Alexis Sanchez got the first touch which was initially blocked by Hector Bellerin, but the ball rebounded off the woodwork to fall into the lap of Pogba in the 16th minute. 1-0.
The Gunners did manage to create a few scrappy opportunities but looked far less threatening. But they did manage to equalize in the second half in the 51st minute from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s deceived shot. The Armenian had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang clear on his left but chose to take onto his right and dispatched a low-drive shot through the legs of Victor Lindelof. 1-1.
The last 20 minutes of the game was a constant battering from the United side as they finally were able to get the match winner in injury time. Ashley Young characteristically delivered a brilliant ball into the Arsenal box. Marouane Fellaini somehow managed to get a deflected header inside the opposition goal while turning away from the goal. 2-1.
Here is how the Arsenal players were rated on the night.
David Ospina – 5/10
Helpless for the first goal but could have done better in the second. Otherwise, he was decent with his distribution and picked up the scraps well.
Sead Kolasinac – 5/10
Very adventurous on the offensive end but not clinical enough. Lost possession enough times to cost his team and was lazy to fall back sometimes.
Calum Chambers – 7/10
Took over the leading role in the backline and was relatively better than his defensive partners.
Konstantinos Mavropanos – 7/10
Not at all a bad debut for the 20-year-old but still needs some work in terms of winning aerial duels.
Hector Bellerin – 6/10
Made a brilliant effort to stop the first goal and delivered a few scrumptious balls into the opposition box.
Granit Xhaka – 5/10
Started the game with a mistimed tackle, a sloppy giveaway in front of his own goal and was not able to control the ball well. Pretty much sums up his night in midfield.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 5/10
Very hard working on the defensive end but lacks the composure for a starting Arsenal player. Got into threatening positions but did not have the clarity to take it all the way.
Reiss Nelson – 5/10
His inexperience showed tonight while duelling against the veteran Antonio Valencia.
Alex Iwobi – 6/10
Not the most impactful but he had his moments. Linked up few of the Arsenal attacks well and set up Mkhitaryan for the goal.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 6/10
Other than the goal, not exactly a night to cherish for the 29-year-old. Still rusty from the injury.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 6/10
Should have gotten a better connection to one of the open headers from Bellerin’s cross. He ran the channels well and connected the attacks. Looked frustrated with a lack of quality service from the back.
Danny Welbeck – 5/10
Fresh legs and took Chris Smalling for a run late in the game.
Nacho Monreal – NA
Joseph Willock – NA