Report: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal – Premier League 2017/18

Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-1 at Old Trafford in Arsene Wenger’s final game at Old Trafford as Arsenal manager. Paul Pogba opened the scoring in the 16th minute, former United player Henrikh Mkhitaryan scoring the equaliser in the 51st minute then United leaving it late with Marouane Fellaini scoring the winner in stoppage time.

Arsenal started the match, breaking forward through Reiss Nelson with United regaining possession and breaking forward themselves. United broke through in the fourth minute, creating some problems for Arsenal with Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard in the box, Nemanja Matic trying to pass, which was a miskick towards Paul Pogba, who could not get his shot on target. A good start.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan got forward on the counter, pressured Antonio Valencia and put a cross into the box, which was cleared by United with no Arsenal players reading the game enough to be able to have a shot on target to pressure David De Gea. Arsenal broke through again through Mkhitaryan, letting Hector Bellerin overlap him, crossing the ball into the box with De Gea thwarting the visitors.

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United, on the attack in the eighth minute, won a corner, taken by Lingard, which came to nothing. United then regained possession, breaking through again with Lingard looking to pounce but Arsenal putting in a block to defy the England attacker. United were looking dangerous in the early stages of the match but there was nothing that could change the game so far.

United took the lead in the match in the 16th minute, pressuring Arsenal for much of the match. Lingard played the ball from United’s half with the home side pressuring Arsenal. The ball was played to Romelu Lukaku, who was on the box, the Belgian then crossing over to Alexis Sanchez, who headed the ball towards the goal. Bellerin connected, the ball hit the post and Paul Pogba beat David Ospina.

In the 20th minute, Arsenal got forward the dealt some pressure towards United. Mkhitaryan nearly found the equaliser on his return to Old Trafford, just missing the target. In the 24th minute, Granit Xhaka was booked for bringing Lingard down with United winning a free-kick on the edge of the box. Pogba took the free-kick but Sanchez was ruled offside.

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United seemed to be all over this young Arsenal side, who were not scared of attacking United, even if it was just Mkhitaryan running with the ball to create something for Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, which was not actually working. Aubameyang had the chance to equalise in the 36th minute, heading towards goal but De Gea made the save look easy to deny Arsenal from scoring.

United, who have been pretty good on the ball, nearly doubled their lead through Lukaku, whose shot was not strong enough to beat Ospina. United were playing well, despite Arsenal attacking, at times, keeping their heads and dealing with the threat. United had a chance again, through Ashley Young, who attempted what seemed to be a cross, which struck the near post.

United then won a free-kick after Bellerin fouled his man. Sanchez took the free-kick, sending the ball into the box by Arsenal made the clearance. Ander Herrera then tried to keep the ball in play, but he couldn’t, Ospina getting a goal kick. At the end of the first half, United led 1-0 with Pogba’s sixth goal of the season, both teams having one shot on target.

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There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half. Arsenal broke forward, seeking that elusive equaliser but United maintained their control and made the clearance. Lukaku received a knock in a challenge by Konstantinos Mavropanos which saw the Belgian being replaced by Marcus Rashford in the 50th minute of the match.

Arsenal found the equaliser in the 51st minute of the match with Mkhitaryan taking advantage of the space afforded by United’s defence, almost walking the ball to the point where he shot at goal. It was a poor goal for United to concede. United now had even more work to do, that with Lukaku now on the sidelines and Rashford having to step up in his position.

Mkhitaryan was fouled by Young, seemingly holding the other leg to the one contact was made with, winning a free-kick. Xhaka took the free-kick, giving De Gea a goal kick. All that whilst the Sky Sports commentators were praising Arsenal’s set-piece scoring rate, which stood at 16 goals this season, still on that figure. United have scored 15 from set-pieces, hardly impressive for Arsenal.

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United, after a good period of play in Arsenal’s final third, won a corner through persistent attacking. Jose Mourinho’s side were banging on the door to take the lead in the game again. All this whilst the Portuguese manager was readying both Anthony Martial and Marouane Fellaini to add some impetus to the game. Arsenal made a change with Danny Welbeck replacing Nelson.

Herrera was replaced by Fellaini and Lingard being replaced by Martial. Arsenal made a second change with Nacho Monreal replacing Sead Kolasinac. Martial nearly created something immediately after becoming involved in the game as he drove forward and tried to create a chance for Fellaini but his pass was too heavy.

In the 69th minute of the match, Welbeck hit a shot from range but De Gea made the save look easy, stopping the former United player from getting on the scoresheet. United had a great chance to regain the lead, through Chris Smalling. The creation of the chance was good but Smalling could not change the game. Fellaini had a great chance moments later. Still 1-1.

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There was a delay in the game after Ospina received a knock after a collision with Fellaini in the box. Arsene Wenger was going to bring Joe Willock on at the time, a delay brought in as he might have had to use his final substitution on the goalkeeper. Willock then replaced Mkhitaryan after Ospina was fine to continue. United having little time to find a winner in this match.

United won a corner in the 79th minute of the match after seemingly aiming to find the winner but Ospina was there to deny United from doing that. The corner came to nothing. United then won another, taken by Sanchez with Martial shooting off target. United had another chance with Fellaini failing to find the back of the net. It seemed like it could be one of those games.

United, seemingly putting everything on the line, created a great chance with many of the players rushing forwards. After some determination, United were pressuring Arsenal but not getting the better of them. The finishing has been poor in this game. The chances have been created with that final touch letting the team down.

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It all seemed to be paying off for United as they looked to have found the winner. Fellaini and Rashford were involved but the assistant ruled out the goal. Back to the drawing board for United. There were four minutes of added time to be played at the end of the second half. United won another corner, taken by Young.

Marouane Fellaini won the game for United in the first minute of stoppage time. United dug deep to find that, earning three points, which puts them five points clear of Liverpool with a game in hand still to play. The Belgian may be leaving the Old Trafford club this summer but he has certainly shown his uses, under Mourinho especially.

That was it for Manchester United and Arsenal, another defeat for the North London club against United this season, still no points on the road in the Premier League in 2018. Not the best of departures for Arsene Wenger. United are back in action on Friday evening, travelling to Brighton in their bid to secure their second-placed finish this season.

Goals: Paul Pogba 16′, Marouane Fellaini 90+1′

Assists: Ashley Young 90+1′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young; Herrera (Fellaini 63′), Matic, Pogba; Lingard (Martial 63′), Lukaku (Rashford 50′), Sanchez

Substitutes Not Used: Pereira; Rojo; Mata, McTominay

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