Manchester United added another counter-attacking masterclass to the history books in their encounters against Arsenal in Friday’s FA Cup fourth-round win, says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Red Devils were electric on the break at Emirates Stadium and ran out 3-1 winners thanks to goals from ex-Gunner Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial.
Solskjaer believes it was no coincidence such a tactic proved fruitful, pointing to past examples – including the 2009 Champions League semi-final – as proof for his point.
“If you go through the history and the games we’ve played against Arsenal that’s how it is,” he told MUTV.
“I remember a goal I scored in 1997 after we defended a corner – it went from Giggsy [Ryan Giggs] to Karel [Poborsky] to Andy [Cole] and into me.
“Everyone knows about the classic Champions League goal [in 2009] with Ji [Park Ji-sung], Cristiano [Ronaldo] and Wayne [Rooney] running forward.
“Wazza has scored a couple more like that, as has Ji, so the counter-attacking threat that we have is in our history against Arsenal.”
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One tactical surprise was the deployment of Romelu Lukaku on the right of a front three with Lingard playing more centrally.
But Lukaku vindicated the decision by assisting the first two goals and Solskjaer says it is a tactic he is happy to employ.
“Rom has played there for Belgium and Everton,” he added at a post-match news conference.
“It’s a tactic we can use and we know how strong he is. He held the ball up and ran the channel. It was a fantastic pass for Alexis’ goal. It was a great finish.”
Solskjaer also reserved special praise for Lingard, who has at times split opinion among pundits.
“Jesse’s a big game-player,” Solskjaer said. “He’s shown that for England, for us. He always pops up with goals.
“Jesse is someone we never, never hesitate to put in a Man United team and he’s been brought through this system, he knows what this means, he knows the club, he knows this history, he knows all the counter-attacking goals we’ve scored against Arsenal.
“He knows everything about the club and he’s someone we’ll look after.”
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