Paul Pogba had a shocker of a game at Old Trafford as he gifted a penalty in the second half to Arsenal that resulted in a 1-0 defeat for Manchester United.
It was Arsenal who started on the front foot, with Bukayo Saka proving to be a handful for the Manchester United defenders. The Arsenal number 7 did not find much joy against Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the flank, but was able to cut inside and be a threat centrally whenever possible.
Manchester United looked lost on the other end, with Arsenal’s tight defence and offside traps working well to neutralise the threat of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. Arsenal came the closest to opening the scoring in the first half, of the game with a couple of close calls in the Manchester United box.
The second half saw Manchester United shift gears and demand more of the ball. Aaron Wan-Bissaka saw his shot deflected over the bar and it seemed like the home side were finally coming into their own. However, Arsenal had their fair share of attacks, with David de Gea called into action thanks to a Thomas Partey long range effort.
Paul Pogba couldn’t see Hector Bellerin coming in and lunged in for the ball leading to a penalty for Mikel Arteta’s men. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted it sweetly to end his scoring rut and give Arsenal the lead. Manchester United tried to come back, but their attacks failed to have any venom in it as Arsenal took away three valuable points.
David de Gea – 6.5
Was up to the task whenever called into action and commanded the area well. Was stranded a couple of times, but the efforts went over the bar. Could not have done much to save the penalty effort but was solid apart from it. Unlucky to have not earned a clean sheet.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 6.5
Wan-Bissaka did not let Saka enjoy any freedom down the flank and made sure the overlapping runs were also met with his presence. Came close to testing Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal as well.
Victor Lindelof – 6.5
An average outing for the Iceman, who had little to do defensively, with the entire match being a cagey affair throughout. However, Lindelof seemed unable to handle the Arsenal press to some extent and it is one area where he must improve.
Harry Maguire – 7
As dominant as one could be in the air, Maguire won 8 headers against Arsenal and was United’s best defender on the night. Had a few long-range efforts but should have done better with the free header in the box in the second half from the corner. All in all, a decent outing that could have been much better had he managed to keep his header on goal.
Luke Shaw – 6.5
Nothing against the England international, but Manchester United were crying out for more attacking intent down the flanks, especially with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba being marked out of the game in the diamond setup. Shaw failed to provide the impetus going forward and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should look to use Alex Telles in such games to provide the necessary width.
Scott McTominay – 6.5
Was a warrior as usual, but found it tough to get going amidst a domineering Arsenal midfield that left nothing to imagination when it came to pressing. To McTominay’s credit, he never lost the ball in a dangerous area and kept it tight as much as he could.
Fred – 6
The Brazilian is hailed for his ability to hold off the press and his close control. However, against Arsenal, Fred came under pressure quite easily and lost the ball near the Manchester United third, opening up a clear goalscoring opportunity for Arsenal, which they somehow missed. A bad outing.
Paul Pogba – 1
Paul Pogba was challenged on the ball 13 times vs Arsenal. He kept possession just twice. He challenged for the ball five times. He won the ball just once.
— UtdArena (@utdarena) November 1, 2020
Lost the ball on 5 different occasions and many of them were in the Manchester United half. Brought the entire team under pressure and capped it off with a horrendous decision to lunge for the ball without anticipating or looking at a marauding Hector Bellerin behind him to gift Arsenal the penalty.
Was clueless going forward and his frustration showed in his second half display. Perhaps, the super-sub role suits him better at Manchester United.
Bruno Fernandes – 5
Was marked out of the game by Mohamed Elneny and found it tough to get going. His passing wasn’t as immaculate and effective because of the offside trap set by Arsenal and would be frustrated to have not been able to do much to help United’s cause.
Mason Greenwood – 6.5
Brighter of the two forwards, Greenwood came the closest to scoring for Manchester United, with his first half effort from a tight angle being saved by Leno. Was quick on his feet and tried to influence proceedings as much as he could. Was damned by a lack of service on the day.
Marcus Rashford – 6
Couldn’t find the space to work his usual magic but almost got Manchester United a goal with a sumptuous across-the-field low cross to find Greenwood, who tried to go for the finish rather than find another teammate. Needed better service.
Nemanja Matic – 5.5
Came on but was unlucky to see United fall behind through the Aubameyang penalty. Did try to go forward but was a mismatch against the Arsenal marauders. The wrong timing of the substitution but something that neither he nor Solskjaer could predict.
Edinson Cavani – 5.5
Wasn’t much of a feature but it begs the question as to why Solskjaer isn’t starting Cavani in Martial’s absence. Cavani could have been the X-factor on the night and would be better equipped to handle the Arsenal defence, with his abundance of experience and strength lending him a helping hand.
Donny van de Beek – 5.5
Couldn’t do much but did find more space than Bruno Fernandes as the game opened up for Manchester United a bit, with Arsenal trying to sit back and protect their lead. Perhaps, van de Beek needed to come on for Pogba and not Bruno Fernandes; for the two would have been more of a creative threat to Arsenal.