Man U rule at Arsenal
Written By: Robert Halter
Beginning of December, Arsenal faced Manchester United at the Emirates stadium. In the third minute from an Ashley Young corner, a glancing header by Paul Pogba, went wide to the right, but the Red Devils got the breakthrough, two minutes later, after a stray pass by Laurent Koscielny, was lost by Sead Kolasinac, and latched upon from Antonio Valencia, who played a one two with Pogba, before driving the ball through the legs of Petr Cech, into the middle of the net. But Arsenal were punished again for sloppy defending in the eleventh minute, when a poor ball across from Granit Xhaka, went out of the possession of Shkodran Mustafi, to Jesse Lingard, and after the ball was played through from Romelu Lukaku, a neat lay off by Anthony Martial, was driven past Cech, in off the left post from Lingard. To make matters worse for Arsenal, Mustafi picked up a knock and was replaced with Alex Iwobi. There was then a goal mouth scramble from a Mesut Ozil corner, as Xhaka won the header, and the out stretched leg of Alexandre Lacazette, had his shot deflected away by David De Gea. Midway through the first half from an Xhaka corner, a miss placed header from Nemanja Matic, was put back out by Koscielny, to Aaron Ramsey, outside the box, whose strike looped off Lacazette, onto the outside roof of the net. On twenty nine minutes, Alexis Sanchez was brought down by Marcos Rojo, and a free kick from Ozil, was headed clear by Young, on the goal line. But the Gunners spurned a chance to score, from a ball through on the left by Kolasinac, as the ball was turned across the upright by De Gea, from a drive by Lacazette, and then Iwobi fed Xhaka, who struck a low effort wide off the left post. In the thirty sixth minute, from a pass by Lacazette, a strike by Ozil went into the path of De Gea. Then in turn, De Gea made two vital saves, first to deny Hector Bellerin’s strike outside the box with a save at full stretch, before Bellerin’s headed pass set up Kolasinac, who was stopped at the near post by De Gea. In stoppage time, after Matic fouled Lacazette, an in swinging free kick by Sanchez, was scissor kicked by Lukaku at his own keeper, De Gea, who made a heroic one handed save to keep the ball out, with Xhaka unable to follow up at close range. But the Gunners pulled a goal back four minutes into the second half, as Ozil combined with Sanchez, and from his ball over, the United defence stood still as Ramsey pulled the ball back for an unmarked Lacazette to smash home. But the Red Devils went close, as Martial supplied Lingard, whose soft strike clipped the far left post, and Nacho Monreal blocked the follow up from Martial. But Arsenal broke again, as Iwobi’s crisp strike was smothered away by the palms of De Gea’s gloves, following an assist by Lacazette. On fifty six minutes, the United keeper made a double save to keep out Lacazette’s strike with his hand and then stop Sanchez’s effort with his feet. However the Red Devils grabbed a third, as Lingard surged forward, and an incisive pass by Lukaku, set Pogba down the right, whose cross was tucked into the bottom left corner from Lingard, on sixty three minutes. Another defining full length save by De Gea, kept out a ball driven in from Sanchez. Man U then took off Martial for Herrera, before the Gunners switched Xhaka for Danny Welbeck. But on seventy four minutes, Pogba was sent off with a straight red card from referee Andre Marriner, for treading on the back of Bellerin’s leg. United soon changed Lingard with Matteo Darmian while Arsenal took off Kolasinac for Olivier Giroud. In the eighty third minute, Iwobi’s ball back to Welbeck, deflected off Herrera and was pushed over from De Gea. Following that, a cross from Ramsey was headed out of play by Welbeck. Soon afterwards, De Gea saved a header by Monreal from an Ozil cross and in stoppage time, Sanchez combined with Ozil but the ball was blazed over from Ramsey, before United changed Young with Marcus Rashford to cap a 3-1 victory.