Arsenal stretched their unbeaten run to 20 games in all competitions as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday
The two sides traded blows in the early running of the game before Shkodran Mustafi broke the deadlock in slightly fortunate fashion, as his header was parried by David de Gea into his own net. But, the scores were level six minutes later, with Anthony Martial tapping in the equaliser after Bernd Leno weakly parried Marcos Rojo’s free-kick.
Both Arsenal and Manchester United did create a number of half chances thereafter. But, either the end product was missing, or the finishing touches could not be applied. The Gunners though, ended up going in front for the second time in the game, yet again having the slice of luck favouring them.
As Alexandre Lacazette went clean through on goal, Marcos Rojo attempted to clear the ball, only to see it ricocheting off the Frenchman’s leg. Moments later though, Manchester United restored parity once more as Jesse Lingard capitalised on a mistake by Sead Kolasinac to make it 2-2.
It’s not the W we were after…
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 5, 2018
The North Londoners were the dominant side for the rest of the game, but Manchester United managed to hold on for the draw. The result though, took Arsenal out of the top four, behind Chelsea on goal difference. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Unai Emery’s men.
Bernd Leno: 6/10
A quieter night, as compared to his counterpart in the Manchester United goal. Apart from a couple of regulation saves, Leno did well to parry away Rojo’s free-kick and he couldn’t have done anything to stop Martial from scoring.
Commanded his area well, apart from the disastrous turn of events for the second goal that Manchester United scored. Leno was also slow off his line and failed to make himself big to thwart Lingard.
Shkodran Mustafi: 5.5/10
From hero to zero in the space of around 50 minutes. Mustafi opened the scoring for his side, albeit in fortuitous fashion. Kept Martial in check for the most part, while also making a number of crucial interventions.
But, undid all his good work and made a joke of himself when Lingard scored the equaliser for Manchester United, showing poor awareness as the Englishman scored seconds after Arsenal had taken the lead.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 5.5/10
Another Arsenal defender who did not cover himself in glory as Manchester United scored their second goal. Was positioned poorly for Martial’s goal as well, and struggled to cope with the pace of Marcus Rashford at times after shifting to the left of the back three.
Rob Holding: 5/10
A game to forget for Holding, who came into Wednesday’s tie on the back of a solid run of form. But, the Englishman struggled during his short stint on the pitch before he had to be stretchered off with a knee injury. A major concern for Unai Emery, particularly during a busy December.
Hector Bellerin: 6/10
A strange outing for Bellerin, who was anonymous for large parts of the game. Although he kept a check on Matteo Darmian’s attacking output, the Italian repaid him in kind. Whenever he did get on the ball, the Spaniard’s end product left a lot to be desired.
Lucas Torreira: 8/10
Lucas Torreira has made more recoveries (110) than any other outfield player for a top-six side in the Premier League this season.
His nine vs. Man Utd was more than any other teammate. 👏 pic.twitter.com/PyFShj02Zz
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 5, 2018
Lucas Torreira has quickly established himself as Mr. Reliable. And, on Wednesday, the Uruguayan was in his elements once again, playing a primary role in Arsenal’s domination in midfield for large parts of the game. Torreira also completed a game-high nine recoveries, dominating his personal battle against Nemanja Matic.
Popped up in the final third when the opportunity presented itself as well, and could have scored for a second game in a row, only to be denied by David de Gea. Delivered the ball well from corners. Made a few mistakes towards the end as fatigue started to set in, but there were far more positives than negatives.
Matteo Guendouzi: 6.5/10
Guendouzi started the game in nervy fashion, looking weak in challenges and losing possession in sloppy fashion at times. But, the Frenchman grew into the game as the minutes passed by, moving the ball at pace, although he too, petered off in the dying embers of the game.
Sead Kolasinac: 5/10
A game of major highs and lows for Kolasinac. The Bosnian constantly got the better of Diogo Dalot on the left flank, although he did not match his marauding runs with the required end product. But, after a largely solid performance, Kolasinac lost his composure and let Lingard clean through on goal to score Manchester United’s equaliser.
Aaron Ramsey: 6/10
Ramsey was handed the armband by Emery following his game changing performance in the North London Derby. And, after a slow start to the game, the Welshman ran the show for the Gunners, as they dominated the proceedings for much of the first half. But, he had to be subbed off due to an ankle injury that the Arsenal boss would hope is nothing serious.
Alex Iwobi: 5/10
Iwobi has shown a lot of promise in 2018-19, but he was nowhere to be seen on Wednesday. The Nigerian international never looked convincing enough on the ball, riddled with heavy touches and wayward passing. Needs to be doing better in big games such as this.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 6/10
Aubameyang has been the man in form in the Premier League lately. But, the Gabonese found himself being neutralised considerably by the Manchester United defenders on the night. As always, the star striker wasn’t the best of finishers, although he could have added to his tally if not for the superb de Gea.
Aubameyang's last 12 Premier League shots on target:
vs Etheridge ⚽️
vs Pickford ⚽️
vs Bettinelli ⚽️
vs Bettinelli ⚽️
vs Schmeichel ⚽️
vs Schmeichel ⚽️
vs Hennessey ⚽️
vs Begovic ⚽️
vs Lloris ⚽️
vs Lloris ⚽️
vs DDG ❌
vs DDG ❌
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 5, 2018
Those two stops by the Manchester United no. 1 also meant Aubameyang had failed to score from a shot on target for the first time in 102 days. Will hope to get back to winning ways when Arsenal face Huddersfield this weekend.
Stephan Lichtsteiner: 6/10
Rushed into action due to Holding’s injury, Lichtsteiner was asked to play as a centre-back in the back three. And, the Swiss defender gave a good account of himself, rarely beaten by either Rashford or Martial. A true asset due to his versatility.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 6/10
On for Ramsey at half-time, Mkhitaryan took some time to adjust to the frantic pace of the game. But, after a horrible miss early on, the former Manchester United playmaker combined well with Alexandre Lacazette and Aubameyang. Scored a sumptuous volley but was rightly pulled back for offside.
Alexandre Lacazette: 7/10
Added a sense of urgency upon being introduced. Used his strength to good effect against the tiring defenders and (sort of) scored the second goal for Arsenal. Should be back in the starting lineup against Huddersfield.