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Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal: 3 Reasons for the draw

Anany Sachar
ANALYST
Feature
06 Dec 2018, 06:03 IST

Manchester United started the game without star names Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku, as Mourinho started five defenders to begin the game with, in what seemed to be a bizarre tactical choice. The manager saw his team put in one of the worst performances of his tenure (particularly the two dropped stars who've been horrible these past few weeks).

Jose's choices were vindicated by his players' performances as the Gunners were unable to break their Old Trafford hoodoo but came away with their unbeaten streak still intact after a hotly contested night of football.

Pogba and Lukaku were both left on the bench after an abysmal performance against Southampton
Pogba and Lukaku were both left on the bench after an abysmal performance against Southampton

It was a wonderful evening at the Old Trafford as both teams came away with the feeling they could've gotten more from the game.

The contest started brightly, with United flying out in the first five minutes, looking to put the leaky Arsenal backline under pressure, but failed to make that pressure count as Arsenal grew into the game after the first 10.

The visitors drew first blood through Shkodran Mustafi at the 26th minute, who was marked horribly by Chris Smalling (shocker, right?), and the German's tame effort was made a meal of by De Gea as the ball crossed the line before being cleared by Ander Herrera.

Mustafi scored after De Gea made an uncharacteristic error handling a simple shot and the goal line technology intervened to award Arsenal their first goal on the night
Mustafi scored after De Gea made an uncharacteristic error handling a simple shot and the goal line technology intervened to award Arsenal their first goal on the night

United looked to get back into the game immediately and did so at the 30th minute through Birthday boy Anthony Martial, who tucked in his seventh goal of the season after some clever play by Herrera.

The replays showed that the Spaniard may have been slightly offside, showing the Premier League fans more and more why VAR is a crucial tool in modern football.

Martial, who turned 23 today scored United's equalizer moments after they had gone down. The youngster is United's biggest goal threat this season, having scored 7 goals in 12 league appearances.
Martial, who turned 23 today scored United's equalizer moments after they had gone down. The youngster is United's biggest goal threat this season, having scored 7 goals in 12 league appearances.
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Rob Holding was carried off at the 35th minute for Stephan Lichsteiner after suffering a knee injury, which followed Aaron Ramsey hurting his ankle while trying to steal the ball from Eric Bailly. He was taken off at halftime for Mkhitaryan. Martial got injured around the hour mark and was taken off for Romelu Lukaku, who looked his ineffective self for half an hour, hindering several attacks from building.

Arsenal brought on their #9, Alexandre Lacazette, who scored 3 minutes after coming on in place of Alex Iwobi, but his strike was canceled out immediately by Jesse Lingard, who poked the ball past a helpless Bernd Leno.

David De Gea made a couple of amazing saves to deny Aubameyang, becoming the first keeper to deny the Gabonese's on target attempt since Fabianski in early September. Here are three reasons why United drew.


#1 Chris Smalling

Smalling was the captain for United on the night, but his deficiencies at the back are costing the club on what now seems a weakly basis
Smalling was the captain for United on the night, but his deficiencies at the back are costing the club on what now seems a weakly basis

United's defence is becoming an increasingly alarming issue for the club's supporters, as opposition players are being allowed to breach the box far too easily, as was the case tonight against the Gunners.

A man who has been almost constantly involved throughout this is Chris Smalling, who allowed multiple Arsenal players to take a shot or make a pass, and one of them were capitalised on by the visitors for their first goal.

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