Arsenal 1 Manchester United 3
Valencia 4 Lingard 11 Lacazette 49 Lingard 63
Jesse Lingard, who will be 25 this month, is a wild card footballer who has been around for a while.
A fast and unpredictable pressure player, he’s never had an extended run in Jose Mourinho’s team.
The Red Devils wore all-black kit at Ashburton Grove on Saturday and gave an impressive demonstration of minimalism: attack less, score more.
In the Thirties, Herbert Chapman believed that sometimes you can attack too much in a game.Today Wenger trains his teams to swarm forward en masse, dominating territory and possession, so it always looks as if they’re winning.
On Saturday they had 74% possession but only scored one goal. And they proved Chapman’s theory by conceding three.
Long-armed giant David De Gea made 14 saves and proved what many of us have been saying, that he’s the world’s finest goalkeeper.
Definition of world’s best? A footballer who he does things nobody else can do.
The biggest difference is that Manchester United are, by nature and nurture, far more ruthless in their defending, tackling and finishing.
When the pressure is on, Arsenal have Sunday morning moments in defence, and they’re not clinical or forceful enough in attack.
When Koscielny’s sloppy pass to Kolasinac was intercepted by Valencia, their defence could not respond to the danger. When Pogba knocked a short return pass to Valencia, he fired a fierce shot that flew low through the legs of keeper Cech.
0-1 in four minutes. Oh dear!
Always a steely right winger, Valencia is now a raiding right back. He could always tackle and he can still tackle, cross, pass and shoot.
Then a shocking Mustafi blunder gave the ball to Lukaku and he found Pogba, who released his pass into Martial’s diagonal run.The winger flicked in Lingard to make it 2-0. Having injured himself giving away the second goal, Mustafi went off.
Arsenal continued to attack and create chances and Ramsey eventually set up Lacazette to make it 2-1.
De Gea made a sensational double save and then Pogba powered to the byeline and cut the ball across the goalmouth. At that moment Arsenal had five red shirts in the penalty area but the unmarked Lingard was allowed to tap in from two yards.
This Man United team is capable of bigger, more spontaneous diagonals than Arsenal, and they demonstrated much more ruthless finishing.
Can Arsenal FC finish 4th in 2018 after being fifth in 2014? That’s still possible because they’re good enough to beat Spurs 2-0 and Huddersfield 5-0.
But their style of football, which has failed repeatedly in the Champions League, will still be far too tame, predictable and middle class.
Arsene FC is a global brand but the Colney Creche no longer produces a team you can trust.