By Dan Ferguson
Manchester United 2 Arsenal 2
Mustafi 26 Martial 30 Rojo 68o.g. Lingard 69
United have picked a quite different defence.
None of their back 5 started their last game.
Scrappy start for Arsenal. They need to settle fast in order to find each other. United pressing very hard in the first two minutes. Arsenal not settling anywhere near as quickly as they did against Spurs. Too much confidence might not be such an asset. Someone needs to tell Rob Holding this.
Rashford has a very fierce strike on 5. Good shot. Arsenal cannot string more than three passes together thus far. So baggy and loose up to now. They need to tighten up as they’re making United look good.
On the plus side, Old Trafford is quiet. Guendouzi is very untidy at present. He needs a captain to remind him about the simple things. United are still getting in between the Arsenal lines and getting shots away after 12. They will score soon if Arsenal cannot protect the ball when they have it.
An Arsenal corner on 16 is their first, but it comes to nothing. On 20 Arsenal start to stroke it about and ask questions. United sink within themselves but it comes to nothing. The Arsenal shape is much more compact now.
On 26 United concede the softest of goals. An absurd bit of goalkeeping but Arsenal has grown into the game and are emphasising their ascendency.
Both sides playing 5 at the back is cancelling each other out. Guendouzi is still loose and fouls Martial on 30 for a perfectly positioned free-kick. Rojo takes it and draws a good save from Leno, and the rebound breaks to Herrera who crosses to Martial for the equaliser. Herrera was offside and all the defenders stopped looking for the flag which should have come.
Rubbish defending, starting with Guendouzi.
I’m going to say something obvious: Arsenal look good going forward, so they should probably try and do that more often.
Arsenal lose Rob Holding on 36 and his injury looks worrying. Lichtsteiner comes on for home and Arsenal look shaky again. Any rhythm they had is gone. The half is generally quite flat, but the referee is trying to spice it up by booking everyone.
Aubameyang is not in this game. He is getting no service. He will have to find the ball himself, or hope that Lacazette comes on. Torreira stands on Matic’s ankle then leaves his studs up on Herrera’s thigh. He is walking a very fine line.
1-1 half time and quite rubbish.
Mkhitaryan replaces Ramsey for the second half. I’m feeling a little negative about this team and formation now. I hope they surprise me but I feel Arsenal lack depth. The second half has left me with nothing to say in the first 5.
Arsenal is playing Russian roulette. They are so bad at the moment. A better team than Man United would take us to the cleaners. They need to shape up fast.
Lacazette comes on for Iwobi.
On 68 Mkhitaryan and Lacazette combine well and the ball somehow ends up in the net. Man U score an immediate reply of equal stupidity.
This is the most comprehensively bizarre game I’ve seen in ages. Pants. I can’t keep up with the mistakes. Chances everywhere. Wow. I think we can say the ghosts of Wenger are still present at times. Which team is going to close the space down better?
Both teams have lost all ability to defend properly. The forwards seem to be putting in better challenges. Both teams had chances to win this match. It lacked any significant quality and made up for it in absurdity. What did anyone learn from this match? Just bonkers. Too many injuries, disruption to formations, lack of confidence and lack of creativity in the first 60. Then mayhem.
United are still far too workmanlike and dull.
But the crowd was 74,505.
And in the last 20, Arsenal were the better team. But the injury to Rob Holding may be really bad news.
MAN UTD : De Gea; Bailly, Smalling, Rojo; Dalot, Herrera, Matic,
Darmian; Lingard, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Pogba, Mata, Lukaku, Romero, Valencia, Fellaini, McTominay.
ARSENAL: Leno; Papastathopoulos, Mustafi, Holding; Bellerin, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Kolasinac; Iwobi, Aubameyang.
Subs: Cech, Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette, Lichtsteiner, Maitland-Niles, Nketiah.
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)