Manchester United drew 0-0 with Arsenal at the Emirates in the Premier League on Saturday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had the stronger team with Arsenal suffering with a few injuries. It was a game of few credible chances, something that will unnerve United, who have been playing a poor brand of football in their last two matches, resulting in a defeat and a draw. Arsenal will be the happier of thereto teams, winning four points and keeping two clean sheets against United this season. However, the gap between the two teams is still ten points, so Arsenal have a lot of work ahead of them to close the gap.
United started well, getting plenty of the ball in the opening stages of the match. Arsenal soon started to press, which worked well for them against Southampton during the week. Arsenal worked the ball into Cedric Soares in the fifth minute of the match with the fullback standing his cross into the far post. Alexandre Lacazette got his head to the ball but it went backwards with Paul Pogba making the clearance for United. Emile Smith-Rowe showed signs for Arsenal a minute later as he burst away from Luke Shaw, working the ball into Lacazette in the penalty box but United averted the danger once again.
In the eighth minute of the match, Cedric ushered Bruno Fernandes out of the way inside the penalty area but there was nothing in it for the referee who did not give a penalty. Cedric was then booked in the 13th minute of the match for a foul on Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder then give Arsenal a free-kick, which was checked by VAR after a foul on Granit Xhaka – nothing further was given and rightly so. Lacazette forced a save from David De Gea in the 17th minute of the match after the Frenchman was 25-yards from the goal, firing his shot with some swerve on the ball. The Spanish goalkeeper made a comfortable save though.
Scott McTominay did not look comfortable in the first half of the match, seemingly having a stomach upset, taking a tablet on the sidelines. He never seemed to recover and was substituted in the 37th minute of the match with Anthony Martial replacing him. There were a few chances for Arsenal before McTominay was replaced. It was a shame that he could not continue but United would now have more attacking players on the pitch and could throw something at Arsenal, who were aiming to get something in the first half with the number of opportunities that they had against United.
United won a free-kick on the edge of the Arsenal box on the attack with Marcus Rashford with the ball in the box, but his avenues towards the goal were closed down, passing to Fernandes, who was fouled just as he placed his shot towards the goal. The free-kick was eventually taken and deflected over the crossbar with United winning a corner. United has Arsenal in their own half for the last few minutes of the half, including the one minute of added time. However, despite that, the score was still 0-0 with both teams needing to do a lot more in the second half to take the three points that were on offer.
Arsenal made one change at the start of the second half with Willian replacing Gabriel Martinelli, possibly aiming to cut down the chances of Aaron Wan-Bissaka breaking though on the right, as he had a few times in the first half of the match. Wan-Bissaka was booked in the 51st minute of the match after trying to cut down a change to break into the box, seemingly winning the ball but also taking the player down, which was a fair booking. It was an even start to the second half with both teams gaining space and ground, although United had little of the ball with Arsenal looking to break the deadlock, which was not coming for them.
United seemed to gain something around the hour mark of the match, launching an attack and coming close to breaking the deadlock themselves with Shaw smashing the ball across the face of the goal. However, Arsenal regained possession and broke forward into the United area where they aimed to get further forward and pressure the visitors, which was not working as well as it could have. David Luiz had a shot on goal in the 62nd minute of the match with Arsenal breaking forward through Nicolas Pepe and the ball ending up at the feet of the former Chelsea defender, whose shot was well over the crossbar, therefore wasted.
Lacazette had a chance in the 63rd minute of the match with Harry Maguire level with him and making a challenge just outside the box, which felled the forward. A free-kick was given with Lacazette taking it, rattling the crossbar with United regaining possession and sending the ball up field once more, only for Arsenal to get hold of the ball and press United once more, which does not seem to be the best thing for these players as Arsenal seem to be getting the better of them, despite not finding a goal so far in the match. The game was starting to get lively, but nothing like the United versus Arsenal matches of old – not yet anyway.
United had a great chance to take the lead in the game with Fernandes inn the Arsenal area in space, slicing the ball into Edinson Cavani only for his shot to end up behind him with Martial slicing it and still not able to carry United home. Shaw had the ball on the left, sending the ball into the box but it was cleared before Cavani could connect with the ball and score a goal. United started to press Arsenal in their own half from there, still seeing that elusive goal to lead the match. Arsenal then made the clearance with United regaining possession in their own half, sending the ball forward again.
United made their second substitution with ten minute left to play with Mason Greenwood, who was originally left off the team sheet in an admin error, replacing Rashford, who had not been as thorough in the match as he could have been, especially in front of goal. A few minutes later, Martin Odegaard made his debut, replacing Smith-Rowe. With all still to play for with a few good chances for United, with nothing gained, United had a few chances late in the game, but nothing to break the deadlock. It was a 0-0 draw with Arsenal the happier team, winning four points and two clean sheets against United this season.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay (Martial 37′), Fred, Pogba; Fernandes; Cavani, Rashford (Greenwood 80′)
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe; James, Matic, Van de Beek
Bookings: Cedric Soares 13′; Aaron Wan-Bissaka 51′, Paul Pogba 73′, Harry Maguire 76′
Written by John Walker