Manchester United and Arsenal failed to really ignite their respective seasons as they shared the points in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Monday evening.
In a match devoid of much quality, Scott McTominay gave the Red Devils the lead on the stroke of half-time with an absolutely blitzing goal from outside of the box. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then continued his hot-streak in front of goal as he scored with a great chip after the break. Despite the strike initially being chalked off for offside, VAR intervened and awarded the Gunners their equaliser.
The draw sees Arsenal rise to fourth in the Premier League table, whilst Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men rise just one place to tenth in the early stages of the season.
Conditions impact early stages
It was a drab affair in the initial stages of the first-half at Old Trafford, with chances at a premium. Andreas Pereira had the first real opportunity for the hosts as he wriggled away from Mateo Guendouzi and tested Bernd Leno with a low drive.
Nicolas Pepe could also have twice opened the scoring as he at first put the ball high over the bar before then seeing his low effort palmed away by De Gea.
A flurry of chances then came the way of the visitors who began to impose themselves on the match. Youngster Bukayo Saka exploited space on the left flank as he too forced a good stop out of the Spanish goalkeeper. The rebound fell to Guendouzi but he recovered excellently to again deny Arsenal the opening goal.
McTominay fires home blockbuster
Just as it looked like the two sides were going to head into the break level, United did eventually edge ahead. Marcus Rashford was only inches away from turning home Daniel James’ cross but the hosts kept the ball alive. It finally found its way to McTominay who produced an unbelievable strike that arrowed into the top corner.
Aubameyang eventually notched Arsenal’s equaliser though, albeit with huge help from VAR. Springing the Manchester United offside trap, the forward delicately lifted the ball over De Gea. Despite the goal initially being ruled out, VAR intervened and the goal was correctly awarded.
Wastefulness in Manchester
Following the goals, the game did come to life as both sides attempted to carve out an opportunity to go ahead. Saka had his effort deflected away from close range before Paul Pogba sent a curling effort marginally wide of the Arsenal goal.
McTominay then went the closest to reclaiming United’s lead as he got free from a corner but somehow put his header over the crossbar as the hosts were frustrated. Rashford almost stole the points late on with a testing free-kick but Leno got over his goalline well to palm it away. In the end, United were left disappointed as they failed in their pursuit of a winning goal and only their third victory of the campaign.
Neither side really deserved to win the match. On what was a torrid evening weather-wise at Old Trafford, the quality of football was really low, again highlighting how much in transition both sides are. In all, it isn’t a bad result for either team but again it does not really give much inspiration for the remainder of the campaign.
Manchester United: De Gea (6); Young (6), Maguire (5), Lindelöf (6), Tuanzebe (7); Pogba (5), McTominay (7); James (6), Lingard (5) (Fred (5), 74′), Pereira (6) (Greenwood (5), 74′); Rashford (5).
Arsenal: Leno (6); Kolasinac (6), Luiz (6), Sokratis (6), Chambers (5); Guendouzi (7), Xhaka (6), Torreira (6) (Ceballos (6), 55′); Saka (6) (Willock (N/A), 80′), Aubameyang (7), Pepe (5) (Nelson (6), 75′).
Goals: McTominay (45′), Aubameyang (58′)
Referee: Kevin Friend
Yellow Cards: Chambers (10′), Rashford (27′), Pereira (32′), Young (41′), Lingard (68′), Xhaka (77′)
Red Cards: N/A
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