Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United: 5 Tactics from Solskjaer that won the game | FA Cup 2018-19
After staying unbeaten in the seven games since Solskjaer's arrival, Manchester United traveled to the Emirates to face a buoyant Arsenal side in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Both clubs have a lot of history in the tournament as they have won 25 FA Cups between them. Gunners are the record 13 times winners while United narrowly missed out sharing the record last season, losing to Chelsea in the finals.
Arsenal came into the game after a morale-boosting 2-0 win over Chelsea last weekend. After a narrow 1-0 win over Tottenham, this was supposed to be another test of Solskjaer's character and his tactical brain.
The Norwegian made five changes to the team that faced Brighton last weekend. Romero started in goal, with Young, Lindelof, Bailly, and Shaw as the back 4. The midfield trio of Herrera, Matic, and Pogba remained unchanged, while up ahead, Lukaku and Sanchez joined Lingard.
The Red Devils broke the deadlock in the 31st minute through Alexis Sanchez. Two minutes later, they were 2-0 up, thanks to Jesse Lingard. When it looked like United were in control of the game, the Gunners reduced the deficit through Aubameyang, just before half time.
Arsenal pegged United back in the second half and looked desperate to secure an equalizer. However, United successfully kept them at bay and even increased the lead in the 82nd minute through Anthony Martial. The match ended with the score 3-1 in United's favor.
As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer secured his 8th victory in his first eight games as a United manager, we take a look at his 5 tactical decisions against Arsenal that won United the game.
#5 Team Selection
With the midweek fixture against Burnley in the back of his mind, Solskjaer made five changes to the team. Romero started in goal as De Gea was rested and Eric Bailly started ahead of Phil Jones. The Ivory Costa International's strength and speed were just what was needed in the defense and Bailly had a pretty decent game.
Luke Shaw returned from illness to replace Dalot and was fantastic on the night, even though he was culpable for the Arsenal goal. But perhaps the most important decision taken by the Norwegian was to keep his two stars, Martial and Rashford, on the bench.
Instead, he opted for Lukaku's power and Alexis Sanchez's precision and it turned out to be a good move. Sanchez scored the opening goal while Lukaku picked up two assists and Martial came off the bench to score United's third.