Manchester United’s confidence was at an all time high coming to the Emirates Stadium in the premier league. United were coming after scripting a historic win against PSG in the Champions league and seemed all set to continue in their blissful winning run against Leno and his team.
Last time out, United were the favourites against the gunners when the two teams met in the league, with many believing in a comfortable win for the Devils against Arsenal. But Unai Emery’s men showed great character in securing what can be termed as a comfortable win for the gunners.
The result saw Arsenal move above United in the league table in fourth position. As the season comes to an end the battle for the fourth is intensifying. With only one point between Spurs and Arsenal and two between United and the gunners, the battle is far from over and it only gets more intense and down to the wire from here on.
United came up second best in a game which saw both sides produce a lot of chances. This was the first defeat for the Devils in the league under Solskjaer. Arsenal’s goalkeeper, Leno speaking after the game revealed how the Gunners were extra motivated by one particular player that is Jesse Lingard. Leno said :
“In your mind you will never forget something like that, when somebody is celebrating,” he said, when asked if the win was revenge for the FA Cup loss and Lingard’s dance.
“You don’t want to see it again, so we were motivated.
“And we knew before the game about our chance, because Man United had one point more than us [in the race for fourth].
“Now we have two points and that was enough motivation for us. We are in the top four and the other teams now wait for our mistakes.”
This came after Jesse Lingard performed one of his dancing moves in the victory against them in the FA cup and also later on posted on social media claiming about the Emirates could be considered as his dance floor.
United had their chances in the game arguably the best in the game but they failed to utilise them. Lukaku failed to score against Leno after a brilliant cross from Luke Shaw in the first half, and ended up missing arguably the biggest and the easiest chance of the entire game for United. In the second half too United wasted a lot of opportunities and have only themselves to blame for all of this.
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) March 10, 2019
Arsenal displayed a much more solid performance overall. They defended quite well through Leno and his team and didn’t gave much room to both Lukaku and Rashford who played upfront for United.
Moreover they looked a massive threat going forward. Leno had a fantastic match and denied Lukaku a scoring chance twice in a one on one situation. The German International was fantastic and pretty much summed up the defensive performance for the gunners.
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While Arsenal can be termed as the better team during the match, United too were brilliant themselves in the second half. They created a lot of problems for the Arsenal backline but failed to breach it eventually.
Speaking immediately after the game, Ole had this to say about his team :
“We started slow, maybe a backlash from Wednesday night,” he says. “We were too slow the first 15 minutes – he [Xhaka] had time to hit that ball [for the opening goal].
But we created so many chances, so many more than when we beat them in the cup but that doesn’t help when the result is like it is. It is not scratching your head, sometimes that happens.
We hit the woodwork twice, sometimes strikers take them. I know more than anyone, as a striker, that that can happen. I can’t remember any proper saves that David [de Gea] had to make.
They didn’t really carve us open. It is one of those days, we have to dust ourselves down and now we play Wolves in the FA Cup.”
United arguably were the better team in terms of chances created but failed to make something of it. Whereas Arsenal took their chances as Granit Xhaka opened the score for Arsenal with a superb strike which completely fooled David de Gea and gave Leno and company the bragging rights in the end.
Aubameyang scored the second goal for Arsenal after he slotted the ball past David de Gea from the penalty spot. Which itself was a controversial decision after Lacazette was brought down in the box by Fred.
The result was a good one for Arsenal as United were the last big name in their remaining fixture list. Whereas, it now means that the Devils have some catching-up to do as they now trail the Gunners by two points in this battle of a top-four finish with Chelsea just one point behind them in the table.