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Ratings: Arsenal could not handle Paul Pogba; Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia all performed well

Manchester United failed to grab a win against Arsenal after a truly spectacular performance. Excellent in all departments of football, United’s control of the midfield allowed them to limit Arsenal to very few chances. Heroic central defensive performances from the stop-gap duo of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo prevented Arsenal from creating chances. United’s three fullbacks, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind, were excellent, particularly the former, who was marauding from back to front all match. In midfield, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba were stabilized by Michael Carrick, and they were the two best players on the pitch once again. Juan Mata, the goal-scorer, was freed by Valencia’s incredible running and took his goal very well. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial provided a vital turn of pace and good link-up play.

Despite a nearly flawless performance, though, United was unable to grab a win, as Arsenal’s one shot on target resulted in a goal for Olivier Giroud. Arsene Wenger needs to be given credit for some excellent substitutions, but United was denied a clear penalty after Shkodran Mustafi blocked the ball with his hand in Arsenal’s box, and Phil Jones was fouled by Laurent Koscielny before Arsenal’s goal. That being said, there were more positives, and even if it doesn’t come this season, Mourinho has shown he has the credentials to make United one of the best outfits in the world again.

Goals: Mata (68′)

Assists: Herrera (68′)

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian (Blind 64′); Carrick, Herrera; Mata (Schneiderlin 85′), Pogba, Martial (Rooney 63′); Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Memphis, Lingard, Young

Bookings: Darmian (25′), Mata (69′), Rooney (94′)

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Conceded from the only shot on target. Looked comfortable in possession.

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25 Antonio Valencia

Phenomenal performance. I forgot Aaron Ramsey was on the pitch, and he showed more attacking impetus than ever.

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4 Phil Jones

Was fouled for the Arsenal goal, but nothing was called as usual. Earned his place in the side next week.

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5 Marcos Rojo

Was a leader on the pitch and looked great throughout. Comfortably in possession and aggressive as a United player should be.

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36 Matteo Darmian

Quality performance, but he was taken off as a red card precaution. Replaced by Blind.

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16 Michael Carrick

Held the team together and provided calmness that, otherwise, wasn’t there. Couldn’t do anything to help the side carry out the match, though.

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21 Ander Herrera

Again, he was phenomenal. He was everywhere, a dominant force, picked up an assist and blew the opposition apart in the second half.

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8 Juan Mata

Took his goal incredibly well. Fluid in possession, but can’t play in matches with left-backs who have more attacking impetus (Tottenham and Liverpool). Replaced by Schneiderlin.

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6 Paul Pogba

Pogba was absolutely incredible. Won every duel on the pitch, in the ground and the air. Drew countless fouls. Arsenal couldn’t handle him, but of course somehow matters will be spun to criticize him.

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11 Anthony Martial

Looked threatening, and earned his place in the team next week. Didn’t offer end-product. Replaced by Rooney.

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19 Marcus Rashford

Offered fluidity in passing movements but was at fault for Arsenal’s goal. Martial should keep his place because Rashford doesn’t belong on the left and Ibrahimovic has shown more up top.

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Substitutes

Ratings: Arsenal could not handle Paul Pogba; Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia all performed well

Replaced Martial. Poor in possession, but made a good run to clear the space for Mata’s goal.

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17 Daley Blind

Replaced Darmian. Didn’t put a foot wrong, and produced an excellent cross that Marcos Rojo should have buried.

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Ratings: Arsenal could not handle Paul Pogba; Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia all performed well

Replaced Mata. Mata shouldn’t have come off, but Schneiderlin didn’t have time to make a positive or negative influence on the match.

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Written by Aaron Moniz

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