Arsenal turned up in all their glory to hand a crushing defeat for Manchester United – Premier League review, brought to you by Dashing…
Mikel Arteta, on his home Premier League debut as Arsenal manager, had shown glimpses of promise against Chelsea. They were 1-0 up after playing some fantastic football but withdrew into a shell in the second half and allowed Chelsea to claw back their way into the game.
On Thursday, against Manchester United, there was none of that indecision. Arteta’s team was focused throughout the game and never allowed their opponents a route back into the game after going 2-0 up at the break.
The result was a rousing first win for Arteta as Arsenal boss. To boot, it was Arsenal’s first Premier League win of the season against a team currently in the top-half of the Premier League.
Much of it had to do with the brilliant utilisation of the resources the former Manchester City assistant manager found himself with. Mesut Ozil, who has had a torrid 18 months under Unai Emery, looked his majestic self again with Manchester United’s midfielders finding it hard to keep a check on him. Ozil was instrumental in every Arsenal attack and he also put a defensive shift as well, recovering the ball more times than any other Arsenal player.
The intelligent runs that the impressive Alexander Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe made ensured Ozil’s passes never went to waste. United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka was given a torrid time by Aubameyang and Sead Kolasinac who double teamed him at every opportunity. It did not help that the rest of the Man United defence looked pedestrian as well with Luke Shaw easily the worst of the lot.
Arsenal made the inroad through the left wing for the first goal, with the cutback from the byline finding Pepe who slotted past De Gea with ease. Shaw was the guilty party there for ball-watching and not covering Pepe.
The second goal was also a bit of lax defending from Man United. Lacazette stole in front of a few United players to get a flick on at the near post. De Gea could only parry it out to Sokratis who lashed in the second.
Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka did their bit as well in midfield for Arsenal. While the former was entrusted with the task of breaking up United’s attacks, Xhaka was seen dropping deep to cover for the full-backs who would venture forward to support the attackers.
United will be disappointed that they even failed to mount a proper fightback. They were placid and slow in attack, with none of the pacy front-three of Anthony Martial, Daniel James and Marcus Rashford finding space to hurt Arsenal. Jesse Lingard had a poor outing in the No.10 role, failing to effect the match in any sort of way.
For United, this is a setback after two consecutive wins. However, for Arsenal, the hope will be that this is a platform that will help Arteta flourish.