Manchester Utd 2-2 Arsenal
JESSE LINGARD’S soft equaliser earned Manchester United a point last night in a dramatic heavyweight clash worthy of watching British boxer Tyson Fury.
United twice came from behind to draw at Old Trafford but neither side managed to land a knockout blow, although Arsenal’s unbeaten run now extends to 20 games.
They led after David de Gea’s howler gifted Shkodran Mustafi an opening goal, only for Anthony Martial to swiftly level.
More poor defending allowed substitute Alexandre Lacazette to fire Arsenal ahead again in the second half but Lingard instantly equalised.
After a three-match winless run in the league, Jose Mourinho made a clear statement to his players by making seven changes from the side that battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Southampton.
Most notably, the Portuguese dropped Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku to the bench. In his programme notes, Mourinho said ‘there isn’t space for people that are not ready to give it their all’.
His side showed plenty of early endeavour but fell behind after 26 minutes, Mustafi escaping his marker to head Lucas Torreira’s corner into the ground, De Gea palming the ball over his head, the ball crossing the line before it was hacked clear.
Arsenal’s advantage lasted a mere four minutes as Martial turned in from close range from Ander Herrera’s pull-back after Bernd Leno parried a Marcos Rojo free-kick. Rojo, however, was then at fault, giving the ball away and allowing Lacazette to burst through and poke past De Gea to restore Arsenal’s lead despite Rojo’s lunge.
Yet again Arsenal were pegged back. Straight from the kick-off, a long ball forward caused confusion in the defence between Leno and Sead Kolasinac and Lingard nipped in to score United’s second equaliser.
In a pulsating final 15 minutes, it was Arsenal who finished the stronger, with De Gea denying Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and the visitors having two goals disallowed.
United boss Mourinho praised his team, saying: ‘Big soul by the players, fantastic attitude from the first minute. The boys left their souls. There are things I can’t get from them but I can’t say much more than this.
‘We made two big mistakes for their goals. We shoot ourselves so many times.’
Unai Emery was more sanguine, his one serious concern the loss of defender Rob Holding, with the Arsenal boss admitting his medical staff felt it could be ‘a big injury’.