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Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United: 5 Talking Points

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
39.19K   //    26 Jan 2019, 11:07 IST

Pogba and Lingard (far left) celebrate with some of their teammates during a memorable fourth-round win
Pogba and Lingard (far left) celebrate with some of their teammates during a memorable fourth-round win

Manchester United extended their winning run under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to an impressive eight after a ruthless display of counter-attacking excellence against Arsenal at the Emirates - earning their FA Cup fifth-round berth with efficiency on Friday evening. 

Alexis Sanchez broke the deadlock after 31 minutes against his former employers, converting beyond Petr Cech from a tight angle. Jesse Lingard's intelligent movement and composure proved decisive as the Englishman doubled the visitors' lead just two minutes later, leaving the Gunners' backline stunned. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang halved the deficit just before half-time after good work from Aaron Ramsey saw Alexandre Lacazette tee up his strike partner. Despite dominating in the first half-hour, this goal was as good as it got for Unai Emery's men - Alex Iwobi, Aubameyang, Lacazette and Ramsey all came close with efforts before United substitute Anthony Martial provided the hammer blow with eight minutes plus stoppages to play.

Lacazette's loose pass saw compatriot Paul Pogba maraud forward unchallenged on the counter-attack. Striking from distance, Cech could only parry his effort directly into Martial's path, who made no mistake to silence the crowd and seal United's place in the last-16.

There were nervy moments despite an impressive away display from Solskjaer's men, who continue to excel under a new lease of life. Arsenal, who beat Chelsea 2-0 last weekend, started brightly but ultimately failed to take their chances and were left exposed defensively in another big game that has passed them by. With all of that in mind, here's a look at five talking points from The Emirates:


#5 Despite his goal, Aubameyang causing yet more frustration

Aubameyang flattered to deceive once more on this occasion, despite halving the deficit before half-time
Aubameyang flattered to deceive once more on this occasion, despite halving the deficit before half-time

The prospect of an Aubameyang-Lacazette combination in attack is something that Arsenal fans have been craving since this time last year when Auba's £60m move from Borussia Dortmund was first announced.

However a year on, it's increasingly clear that they do not work together as well as one might've hoped - though shifting Aubameyang out wide doesn't help him either. He should be playing in a more central role, or at least closer to Lacazette, so the pair can link-up together and create intricate build-up moves.

Instead, he has regularly been deployed on the right-hand side when Lacazette is involved from the start and it's detrimental to the team's success in the final third. That was evident on this occasion, where Aubameyang was often finding himself having to drop deeper into midfield to try and earn possession there.

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When he did have the ball, his decision-making was regularly poor and passing let him down at times when the hosts appeared threatening on counter-attacks of their own.

His goal on the stroke of half-time was a trademark one: In the right place at the right time to prod home from close-range after Lacazette's pass, though it ultimately masked another ineffective display from someone who hasn't shown enough to warrant such faith in his performances by Emery in wide areas.

Lacazette - whose decision-making wasn't perfect either - adopted an infectious pressing game. Tellingly, Aubameyang didn't replicate that same desire out of possession and always seemed a step too slow against United's backline, with Victor Lindelof, in particular, marshalling him well. Arsenal's need for better wide players is clear and Aubameyang is certainly not one of them.

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ANALYST
Sports writer and editor - European and youth football analyst. PSG news correspondent. Email: mosope.ominiyi@gmail.com
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