Game of the Season: Recap of Manchester United vs. Arsenal
Here are four thoughts from Manchester United’s frantic 3-1 victory over Arsenal from this recent Saturday.
1. Manchester United execute on the counter attack
Manchester United vs Arsenal was an absolute thriller. This game had about everything: two of the biggest clubs in England, delicious skill, rough tackles, impossible saves, and an amazing atmosphere. The standout performances came from Jesse Lingard and David De Gea who both helped Manchester United steal three points at the Emirates Saturday afternoon.
Heading into this matchup we knew exactly how Mourinho was going to set up his side: sit back, invite pressure, and go out on the counter. With this plan the only way Manchester United could win is if they were well organized in the back and clinical with the few chances they got. Well organized and clinical was exactly what they were and they collected the three vital points to their continued title chase behind Manchester City. Ultimately Jesse Lingrad’s tireless effort and energy was the decisive factor to Manchester United’s win.
Jesse Lingard was directly involved in all the three goals that Manchester United scored. Arsenal were unable to handle his pressure, which caused Arsenal to cough up possession and lead the red devils to capitalize and have them up 2-0. After Arsenal responded well by dominating possession and creating chances inside the opposition’s box. Even with all the effort, De Gea seemed impossible to beat and Arsenal only managed to score one goal from a great ball from Alexis Sanchez that was finished off by Alexander Lacazette to inch them closer 2-1.
Later in the second half Manchester United got off in the counter once again and put the game to bed thanks to some brilliant individual skill from Paul Pogba assisting it to Jesse Lingard.
2. Has David De Gea established the title of “Best Goalkeeper in the World”?
David De Gea was without question “world class.” The man between the sticks pulled off a 14 save game which managed to equal a premiere league record. Without De Gea, Arsenal could have reclaimed their lead and win the game comfortably by about three or four goals.
After the game Jose Mourinho put it best, “What I saw today was the best goalkeeper in the world. Big matches you need goalkeepers to be there for you.”
De Gea had his own thoughts after the game as well, “Sometimes, you just start a game with a really good save, with a good feeling, you feel [unbeatable] but we started the game really well, we scored two important goals and it’s true that we lost a bit of a control of the game after, but it was a good performance.”
There is no denying that De Gea has been a top three goalkeeper in the world for some time now. But has he claimed the spot as the world’s number one?
3. Manchester United’s win came with a price
Up till most of the game, it seemed like the red devils were gonna come out with a clean win and all the necessary momentum for the crucial Manchester Derby taking place next weekend. But all of that came into a halt once star French midfielder Paul Pogba picked up a red card on his tackle on Hector Bellerin.
Now Paul Pogba is set to miss next weeks game against Manchester City which seems to be a title decider plus two other matches in the premier league. This is a huge blow to United as they are currently eight points behind the citizens in sky blue.
The questions now lay with coach Jose Mourinho. How does he replace such an influential piece to the team? Is it time to call upon Zlatan to get his first start back from ACL surgery? Or do we see him park the bus and fight for a draw?
The season could be on the line heading into next weekend.
4. Arsenal is simply fighting for a champions league spot
After the loss on Saturday Arsenal now sit in 5th place in the premiere league table, a massive fifteen points behind league leaders Manchester City. It is now looking like Arsenal is out of title contention but Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger refuses to admit it, “I am here to fight as long as I can. As long as mathematically it’s possible you have to fight. You cannot give any other message out.”
That’s not the only problem that Arsenal football club have in their hands at the moment either.
Key players Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez contracts are set to expire in the summer and with the January transfer window coming, both players will be able to leave the club for free which would be a major blow to the club.