Premier League 2016-17: Manchester United 1 - 1 Arsenal: Who Said What?
The story of the match? Manchester United dominated possession for nearly 90 minutes, created chances aplenty and scored one of them (A wonderfully well taken Juan Mata goal). A rather poor and disjointed looking Arsenal stunned Old Trafford when they scored with their first shot on target – in the 90th minute. The smile across Arsene Wenger’s face said it all – Arsenal have finally relearnt how to win/draw dirty, and this could well be their season.
The Post-Match interviews yielded some interesting quotes –
"They had one chance and they take a point” – the match succinctly summed up by the excellent Juan Mata
He added – “When you are winning by one goal you are not in control .We have to take positives from the performance. We were really close to winning against a great team like Arsenal.”
On first-half penalty shout: “Antonio Valencia is not a player that falls into the ground for no reason.”
Theo Walcott was in rather high spirits after the match –
"I think we maybe deserved more based on our first half performance but they came at us in the second half and maybe a draw was a fair result.
"In years gone by this was a very tough place for us to play and we managed to get a result today."
While goalscorer Olivier Giroud was obviously very excited – the man has scored more Premier League goals as a sub for Arsenal than anyone else!
"It was a very good cross from Chambo [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain]. I attacked the ball and I am very happy for myself but for the team as well because we needed this point. It is always frustrating to be on the bench but it is part of the job. You need to stay focused on what you have to do and that is what I and Chambo tried to do, try and bring a plus to the team."
There was an interesting symmetry to the goal – Giroud’s goal was the first Arsenal had scored against a Mourinho team in the Premier League since May 2007 (Gilberto Silva). It was the only shot on target Arsenal had in the match.
Arsene Wenger thinks that his team would have lost this match if it had happened last year
“The result in the end is positive for us because we were 1-0 down with two minutes to go. For the rest it was a bit of a scrappy game with two teams well organised who defended well. Our passing was not quick enough, our penetration was not there and in the end we looked like we had good possession of the ball but not many chances. In the second half we suffered for the first 20 minutes and they deserved to be in front.
"The players who came on made a massive difference today. When you are 1-0 down and come back to 1-1 of course you have to feel happy.
"We lacked a bit of sharpness today, what is it down to I don't know but at least we came back."
He was asked whether there was some kind of mental block – “I wondered during the game about that. Honestly you never know. Last year we would have maybe lost this game and today we didn't so we have improved on that front. Hopefully now we can kick on with some wins."
We did not create many chances, it was an intense game. In the first half we did alright without creating much but in the second half they were on top of us and deservedly led.
HE FELT TOO THAT HIS TEAM SHOWED GREAT STEEL TO GET BACK INTO THE TEAM
"After that they dropped back and we are happy to come back for a point. We have shown steel, we want style as well but we had more steel than style today.
"We have good spirit and that has shown today."
Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, was at his quote-spewing, gloomy best – calling his team the “unluckiest team in the league”
"Of course it is two points dropped. We were the best team by far. They had no chances to win. They could not be Arsenal the way they normally play football. We were phenomenal defensively. The way we pressed and the way we controlled their counter attacks. Then when we had the ball we were very comfortable. We scored a fantastic goal, we had chances to win the game and then the only time they go there and the only time we had a situation we could not resolve they scored. They are the lucky ones and we are the unlucky ones.
"The team played very well. This team at the moment is the unluckiest team in the Premier League. That is the reality. The team is playing well. Phil Jones played more matches this season than the past three seasons I think. I don't remember him playing two matches consecutively and big matches.
"I am happy with the work and the guys and I am super happy with the fans. They are amazing. They know to be fair and applaud a team that has dropped two points."
He also refused to blame the referee for the penalty decision that he felt should have gone his way – so very untypically Mourinho, that –
"I don't want to speak about it. I have a very good feeling with Andre Mariner. He is the kind of referee who if he make mistakes against my team there is no intention. He doesn't want to be the star of the game, he is a good referee. I don't want to say if it is a mistake or not, I know because I saw the video, but I don't want to say because he is a good referee."
My feelings are that I know if it was a penalty or not but I don't want to speak about it because the referee is good. He always give you a positive feeling. He doesn't want to be the man of the match. He tries to do his best.
He made it clear that he thought his team dominated, and for once was very happy about his players performances. HE DID CALL IT ANOTHER DEFEAT, THOUGH –
"It was another defeat. If you have a bad game, or an equal game against a very good team like Arsenal, you draw it is not a drama or a bad result because it is normal between two teams. But when De Gea was on holidays, when Cech made two or three very good saves or when you miss two or three very good chances and you are in total control then the concede late, then the feeling is like a defeat."
"I am proud of the performance and the work we are doing. I can only feel pride but I am obviously very sad for the players and the fans. The feeling is good. I know Man Utd won some matches at home last season and some people were leaving 10 minutes before. Now people are just unhappy with the result but the people know the direction we are going. The reality is we had these three matches at home where we lost six points."