Match Report: Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal
David de Gea’s goalkeeping error coupled with Ander Herrera’s lack of awareness handed Arsenal an early lead just 26 minutes into the game. Shkodran Mustafi hit the turf with his header off Lucas Torreira’s corner from the left and De Gea’s attempt to flick the ball over the crossbar just wasn’t strong enough. Herrera could still have saved United’s blushed but the Spaniard was late to react and he cleared the ball after it had crossed the line.
United pushed forward after conceding the opener and found an immediate response. Marcos Rojo, who was playing his first game of the season, forced a good save from Bernd Leno off a free-kick and the Herrera reacted quickly enough to cut the ball back into the penalty area, which was turned in by Anthony Martial to restore parity at the half-hour mark.
Both the teams kept probing away at one another and tried to work the openings but another bizarre moment swung the pendulum in Arsenal’s favour. This time it was Marcos Rojo who lost the ball inside his own half. Alexandre Lacazette exchanged passes with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Rojo’s last-ditch attempt to save himself resulted in an own goal. Replays showed that the last touch came off Lacazette but he did not seem to know much about it.
The lead did not last long for the Gunners and Jesse Lingard took advantage of some sloppy goalkeeping from Bernd Leno to get United back on level terms, just a minute after Rojo’s own goal.
While United seemed happy to see the game off, Arsenal pushed for the winner but the Gunners were denied by De Gea’s goalkeeping heroics. Sead Kolasinac’s inch-perfect cross from the left found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inside the box but De Gea was equal to the task, keeping out a goal-bound effort from point-blank range.
Unai Emery’s men were gifted another chance to seal the game. Nemanja Matic has been poor all season and the Serb gave the ball away in a dangerous area outside the box. Henrikh Mkhitaryan created space from the right and Hector Bellerin’s vicious effort from inside the box was kept out by De Gea, once again preventing United’s demise in the dying stages of the game.
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As things shaped up, it was a game marked by a comedy of errors and both the teams should be happy with a fair share of the spoils. Arsenal dropped to 5th in the standings while the Red Devils remained 8th, just behind Bournemouth on goal difference.
Last season, Matteo Guendouzi was playing in front of a few thousand for a second tier team.
Tonight he played in front of over 70,000 people at Old Trafford, representing the Arsenal and booed by United fans throughout because he’d rattled them so much.
My midfielder. pic.twitter.com/8QYlVg3Mig
— Chris Davison (@cdavison_afc) December 5, 2018
Man U 2 – 2 Arsenal
When I saw the first goal,
I began to think that De Gea has been cloned
This can’t be the real De Gea, maybe David from Poland
— Ebube The Statesman (@akaebube) December 5, 2018
— Stuart MacFarlane (@Stuart_PhotoAFC) December 5, 2018
Most impressive thing about that tonight was how Arsenal ended the game, given the intense nature of Sunday’s derby.
Fitness and running levels seem through the roof. Injuries starting to be a problem though.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) December 5, 2018
— Carl Bövis ⚽ (@CarlBovis_AFC) December 5, 2018
Big fan of what Emery’s bringing to Arsenal, but undoubtedly my favourite is his ability to always look like he’s standing in the rain pic.twitter.com/13GOP64wCw
— Chris Dixon (@chrismd10) December 5, 2018
People saying dalot was awful against arsenal are overreacting he wasn’t brilliant but it in reality who expects him to be brilliant in his first start but he played better than Valencia has in a long time and his performance should excite you about the future #dalot #MUNARS pic.twitter.com/1XrdzYyWvb
— Basic United (@basic_united) December 6, 2018
Only realistic chance for major success this season is the FA Cup for Manchester United. No chance in Europe or in the Premier League. Top four also looks impossible. Season is practically done. Merry Christmas.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) December 5, 2018
The lack of creativity at Manchester United is ridiculous. Now find themselves 17 points off Liverpool and 18 points behind Manchester City after 15 games. Mental.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) December 5, 2018
Arsenal players are psychologically prepared that they can’t win a PL game at Old Trafford. This negative mentality is an advantage to Manchester United. #WOLCHE#MUNARS but this is uncalled for. Managers must motivate their players pic.twitter.com/T05qhdEPUY
— Real Nick Lee (@RealNickLeeKe) December 5, 2018
Arsenal signing this promising 18-year-old would be a smart piece of business by Unai Emery
Arsenal opinion: William Saliba would be a smart addition for the Gunners
According to a report from the Metro, Arsenal are weighing up a summer move for Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba.
The 18-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign for Saint-Etienne, making 19 appearances across all competitions. His performances were rewarded with a four-year deal in April by Les Verts, with the Ligue 1 club anticipating offers for the youngster this summer.
The report claims Manchester United are also interested in William Saliba, but Arsenal have been tracking the youngster throughout the season. Both Arsenal and Manchester United have been poor defensively this past campaign but it’s the former that should win the race for Saliba’s signature.
The Gunners conceded 51 goals in the Premier League in Unai Emery’s first season at the club. That shows how leaky their defence has been, even with the addition of Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Sokratis arrived at the Emirates from Borussia Dortmund last summer and while he has made a difference on and off the pitch, it is not enough for a club of the stature of Arsenal.
The Gunners enjoyed a 22-game unbeaten run in all competitions after losing the first two league games this past season, but Rob Holding’s injury in December massively hurt the north London club’s chances of securing a top-four finish.
Above all, Shkodran Mustafi has been awful for Emery’s men and could be sold this summer for his error-prone displays. Nacho Monreal is out of contract in June, while Laurent Koscielny isn’t getting any younger.
Thus, a new central defender is an absolute necessity for Arsenal and Emery would make a wise decision by signing William Saliba.
Saint-Etienne are set to finish fourth in the Ligue 1 table and will play the Europa League next season, which suggests everything about Saliba’s impact at the club.
The Gunners don’t have the financial clout to compete with the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool; thus, they need to make smart signings.
Standing at 6ft 4in, Saliba is a strong and powerful centre-half with the ability to win every single aerial duel against his opponent. He is hard as nails, which allows him to keep the opposition at bay with the utmost ease.
The teenager is a composed ball-playing defender and despite possessing a towering frame, he is quick through the ground as well.
While there might be questions about whether or not he can adjust to the Premier League, it should come with time. But Saliba’s physical traits and ball-playing qualities will play a big part in helping him fit at Arsenal.
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Thus, a move for Saliba makes perfect sense for Unai Emery’s side.
Arsenal would strike gold by signing this 23-year-old defensive beast after conceding over 50 goals last season
Arsenal Opinion: Why Arsenal would strike gold by signing Mario Hermoso?
According to a report from the Daily Mail, Arsenal are interested in signing Espanyol defender Mario Hermoso in the summer transfer window.
The Gunners are making efforts to solve their defensive crisis in the summer after Unai Emery’s side shipped over 50 goals in the 2018/19 Premier League season. The defence has been Arsenal’s Achilles heel for few seasons now and Emery has turned his attention to Mario Hermoso.
Hermoso, 23, started his senior football career at the Spanish capital with Real Madrid before joining Espanyol in 2017. He has since been impressive and produced a host of impressive displays in the Espanyol backline this term as well.
The Spaniard is rated as one of the best centre-halves in La Liga and would fit the bill perfectly at Arsenal.
Arsenal missed out on a top-four finish this past season but still have a chance to qualify for Champions League football. They will need to win the Europa League final against Chelsea later this month to play Champions League football next term. Whatever is the final outcome of the Europa League final, Emery must spend in the summer and in the right areas of the squad.
The north London giants have several areas to address in this transfer window but the most important department is the defence. Without shoring up the defence, Emery’s team simply cannot move forward or in other terms, will never come closer to challenging for the Premier League title.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Laurent Koscielny are the only Arsenal defenders to emerge with some credit this season. But both are in their 30s and cannot be relied upon for long term. Shkodran Mustafi probably will get sold this summer, which should leave Emery with Konstantinos Mavropanos, Calum Chambers and the injured Rob Holding.
Thus, a new defender or two is a must and Hermoso will be brilliant fit at the Emirates. A classy, ball-playing centre-half, the Spaniard’s distribution skills from the back will certainly appeal to Emery. The 23-year-old is hardworking and dedicated to the team’s cause. He is strong and powerful, good in the air and an asset to have during set-pieces.
The two-cap Spain international is young, talented and is improving all the time with the potential to be the best defender. Truly, he ticks the boxes for Arsenal in their search for central defenders.
Hermoso has earned plenty of plaudits for his brilliant defending this season and it is not difficult to see why he could be a smart addition.
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That said, Arsenal should do everything in their powers to pry the Spaniard away from Espanyol, as getting a player of his quality and potential on board would be a massive coup.
Man United beating Arsenal to sign this midfield anchor with £43.5m release clause would be the key for Solskjaer
Man United Opinion: Red Devils should beat Arsenal in the race to sign Thomas Partey
Daily Mail understands that Inter Milan are also interested in the Ghanaian international, with the player’s agent revealing that the defensive midfielder has a release clause of £43.5 million in his contract at the Wanda Metropolitano.
The same source claims that Partey has impressed Unai Emery and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with his consistent run of form in the La Liga and both the managers are keen on bringing the 25-year-old to the Premier League this summer.
Partey signed for Atletico as a talented youngster from Ghana back in 2011 and played for the club’s reserve team for a couple of years before making his professional debut in the 2015-16 season, following a successful loan spell at fellow La Liga club Almeria. The 25-year-old struggled to establish himself as a regular in his first two seasons but he has established himself as one of the club’s prized assets since the start of the 2017-18 season.
The Ghanaian enjoyed another fruitful season at Atletico this term and made 32 appearances in the La Liga, scoring thrice and setting up another 4 in the process. He has carved out a reputation for himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the Spanish top-flight over the past couple of campaigns and his links to the Premier League giants comes as little surprise.
Partey has made a total of 139 appearances for the Rojiblancos in all competitions till date, accumulating 12 goals and 11 assists, returns which are quite good for a defensive midfielder.
Known for his strength, tenacity, drive and determination, Partey is an energetic presence in the middle of the park who has the capability to shoulder both defensive and attacking responsibilities. Noted for his high work-rate, Partey covers every blade of grass on the pitch to add steel to the midfield and hold things together, while also possessing excellent technical abilities and a wonderful range of passing to dictate the tempo of the game.
Quick across the ground, strong on the tackle and blessed with remarkable dribbling skills for a central midfielder, the 25-year-old not only makes use of his game reading ability to cut out attacks with tackles and interceptions but he also sets his team on the front-foot with powerful driving runs forward.
Despite being used in a defensive role, Partey is more than capable of creating his own space and chipping in with key passes from the midfield, while also making late runs into the box to contribute with valuable goals. Furthermore, he is a wonderful distance-shooter and a recognised set-piece specialist.
To put things into perspective, Partey would be an excellent signing for both Man United and Arsenal but the Red Devils would bag a massive coup if they manage to beat off competition for the highly-rated midfield enforcer this summer. A new central midfielder is likely to be high on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s recruitment list, following the departure of Ander Herrera on a free transfer and the Ghanaian perfectly fits the bill.
United finished the season with a poor run of results against the likes of relegated teams like Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town and the manager clearly needs to revamp his squad in the summer to challenge for silverware. If the recently-concluded Premier League season is anything to go by, Nemanja Matic is clearly past his prime and Paul Pogba is not consistent enough to deliver the goods week-in-week-out.
The Red Devils splashed a huge amount to bring Fred to the club last summer but the Brazilian has not lived up to the expectations whatsoever and United certainly need better and more consistent players to compete with the best. Thomas Partey looks more like the real deal and United should go all out in their pursuit of the Ghanaian enforcer to add steel and stability to their midfield.
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Partey, 25, has entered his prime years and United have every reason to look at him as an excellent long-term investment. Going by what he has shown so far in the La Liga, the Red Devils might as well have a player better than Fernandinho in the years to come if they manage to strike a deal for him this summer.
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