Mistakes cost Arsenal points

When Arsenal were going through the difficult time at the start of the season, Ralph Rangnick was mooted as a solution.

This is an important result in the context of the season and fourth place. An opportunity for a statement that the club was effectively challenging for a Champions League place. And could get points against ‘top six’ sides away from home.

The frustrating thing about this game was that Arsenal could have won it. They were dominant in the first 20 and could have scored more. But as is customary, like some Pavlovian mechanism, sat back and defended the lead – and the inevitable happened.

Martin Odegaard from hero to villain in 16 minutes

When Arsenal went behind in the last quarter, they became dominant again and had three good chances to equalise.

There were warnings that this youthful team lacked experience and mistakes and dips in form would occur. This was evident culminating in Odegaard’s rash challenge on Fred which proved decisive.

Ben White, who generally had a good game, failed to clear a cross properly. Sancho found Fred. Elneny failed to intercept Fred’s pass which found Fernandes who fired past Ramsdale.

In the second half Tavares sent a mis-placed pass forwards and Maguire found Rashford who held his pass for Ronaldo’s run, and he made no mistake for the second.

And for the hat-trick, Odegaard tracked Fred’s run into the Arsenal area attempted to reach the ball but brought down the Brazilian – with Ron Aldo making no mistake.

Mistakes weren’t confined there. The midfield of Partey and Elneny had their fair share of lost possession. And the finishing needed to be far more clinical.

Arsenal started brightly – pressing United into their own third and won four corners in the first ten.

Their pressure told on 13 when a Tomiyasu cross which deflected goalward was tipped behind by De Gea. From the corner Fred trod on the Spanish goalkeeper’s ankle, and he fell in a heap. The ball came to Smith Rowe who fired it into a partially guarded net, followed by Martin Atkinson’s whistle.

In terms of positives, Arsenal zipped the ball around crisply and effectively and were the better team in the first half. The second goal, which drew the scores level at 2-2 illustrated incisive passing with Partey finding Martinelli wide on the right, who sent in a quick low cross, met first time by Odegaard who found the bottom right-hand corner of De Gea’s net.

Aubameyang had another difficult outing, not looking like scoring. There was a glorious chance to equalise when Martinelli broke free and found the Gabonese, who shot instead of passing back to the Brazilian in space. He was substituted on 79, indicating all was not well.

Saka, who came on for Smith Rowe had two chances in the United area – but for both, his positioning was wrong, and the first shot was too near De Gea and with the second, he took too long.

Mikel Arteta said; “I’m disappointed about the way we conceded some of goals. We threw it away. We needed 2 more goals but were incapable.”

He said some of it was down to inexperience.

“We gave the ball away in dangerous areas. We had a better structure than the Liverpool game and were more of a threat. We had a good press. We had to build momentum to win but we conceded.

“There were a lot of things I liked and some really good performances. When you score 2 you expect to get something. But it is our own fault. You get punished if you do the things we did.”

Premier League: Manchester United 3 Arsenal 2

Manchester United: 1de Gea, 20Dalot,2Lindelöf, 5Maguire, 27Telles, 39McTominay (Booked at 45mins),17Fred,10Rashford (Substituted for Lingard at 79’minutes), 18Bruno Fernandes (Substituted for van de Beek at 90’minutes), 25Sancho, 7Cristiano Ronaldo (Substituted for Martial at 88’minutes

Arsenal:32Ramsdale, 18Tomiyasu, 4White, 6Gabriel, 20Tavares, 35Martinelli, 5Partey, 25Elneny, 10Smith Rowe (Substituted for Saka at 70’minutes), 8Ødegaard (Substituted for Nketiah at 79’minutes), 14Aubameyang (Substituted for Lacazette at 79’minutes