Manchester United in UEFA Champions League and Manchester United in the Premier League is seemed to be two completely different teams. After thrashing Bundesliga leader RB Leipzig in the mid-week by 5-0, it was expected that Manchester United will maintain their rhythm. But they collapsed again.
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba brought down Hector Bellerin in the 69th minute of the game in the penalty box. After that, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored from the spot to give the leads to the Gunners. Aubameyang was on a goal drought before the game for the last 5 matches. But he kept his nerve and send David De Gea to the wrong side and squished that into the bottom corner.
Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made 3 changes in the team from the team against RB Leipzig. Bruno Fernandes and Scott Mctominay returned to the side in place of Donny Van De Beek and Nemanja Matic. Anthony Martial was suspended following a red card against Tottenham Hotspurs. So, Marcus Rashford returned to the side in place of him. Ole played with the same 4-4-2 formation with a diamond in midfield.
On the other hand, Mikel Arteta went with 3 at back with Holding, Gabriel, and Tierney. His 3-4-3 formation helped Arsenal to stop the lightning-fast Manchester United counter-attacks.
Manchester United failed to play in the final third and create enough chances. Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey was exceptional yesterday and he protected Arsenal defense from all sorts of attacks. Arsenal’s boss Mikel Arteta was happy with his midfielder. He said, “He was really good. I’m glad that whoever I pick is giving absolutely everything and they play with a lot of courage.”
Mikel Arteta also explained his strategy to stop the Reds. He said, “A lot of things happened but they can change formation and rotate the players a lot with the diamond they play. A split-second lack of focus and they are through. We did that really well today and we had to defend in a different block.”
Manchester United only attempted 8 times to test Bernard Leno. Out of those only 2 was on target.
Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, “In the first half, we never turned up. The intensity, the tempo wasn’t there, the shape – they were better than us and created a couple of half-decent chances. In the second half, they didn’t look like they were going to score, apart from the penalty. So, we played better in the second half but still, we have to turn up with more intensity.”
“There are many reasons. Of course, but it might be a reason when you play well and you think you take your foot off the pedal. But that’s not how it works because this was a big game and they’re a very good team. You have to be absolutely spot-on with everything. When you’re late in the tackle, they get away from you and you give a foul away. We weren’t at the races.”- he added.
“With the highs of the PSG game, it was a little bit okay against Chelsea and we were very good against Leipzig. We’re down again today and it’s the consistency.”- Ole criticized the lack of consistency of the squad.
Arsenal won the first time after 13 years at Old Trafford and Mikel Arteta becomes the second Arsenal manager to beat Manchester United in his first two meetings.