Manchester United have beaten Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates in one of the most exciting games this season. Two early United goals from Valencia and Lingard were followed by up by a Lacazette goal early in the second half, before Lingard killed the game off with his second.
With United hosting rivals Man City next week, it was almost a win must for the Red Devils. It wasn’t going to be easy, as Arsenal came into the game in great form, recently beating Spurs in the North London Derby.
Mourinho went with a back three formation to match the way Arsenal play. The biggest surprise for United was that Matic got the start next to Pogba in midfield.
United made a dream start to the match, grabbing a goal within five minutes. A misplaced pass from Koscielny was picked off by Valencia. He found Pogba, who played it back to him. Valencia made no mistake, smashing it through the legs of Cech in goal.
It got even better for the Red Devils, as the lead was doubled soon after. Lingard chased after the Arsenal defence, and forced a horrific turnover out of Mustafi. The ball fell to Lukaku, who cut inside and played through Martial. The Frenchman received the ball, turned, and rolled the ball to Lingard, who made no mistake by placing it past Cech.
Mustafi was injured on the play, and came off for Alex Iwobi. This substitution lead to Arsenal reverting to a back 4 formation as they now needed to score to get back into the game.
United sat back as a result of the early lead, forcing Arsenal to come at them and leave themselves vulnerable to the counter attack.
Smalling tried to shepherd the ball out of play, but Lacazette got a toe to it before it went out of bounds. The ball pinballed around the area before going out for an Arsenal corner.
That corner almost lead a goal for Arsenal as Xhaka’s header forced a decent save out of De Gea. The rebound bounced off Lacazette, and then bounced off De Gea, before rolling just wide of the post.
United started to burst forward on the counter attack. Pogba played a give and go with Martial before sprinting into the Arsenal area. His low cross was just about dealt with by the Arsenal defence, as Kolasinac tackled it to Cech.
Arsenal should’ve grabbed a goal before the end of the half. Smalling fluffed his lines on a clearance, and the ball found Lacazette in the area. His initial shot was blocked, but fell back to him. De Gea came rushing out, and deflected the Frenchman’s shot onto the crossbar. The ball bounced to Xhaka at the edge of the area, but he rolled his shot wide of the post.
Arsenal were able to grab the big goal right at the start of the second half. Ramsey made a run from midfield, and was played through by Alexis. The Welshman settled the ball to Lacazette, who smashed it home from close range.
United almost immediately restored the two goal advantage when Martial played Lingard through on goal. Cech saved the effort, and the ball bounced right off the post before being cleared by Arsenal.
David De Gea then proved to everyone watching that he is the best goalkeeper in the world. Lacazette received the ball the edge of the area, turned his marker, and smashed a low shot to the near post. De Gea made the save, but couldn’t prevent giving up a rebound. Alexis was first to the rebound, and looked to have an easy tap in. However, De Gea shot up and got his foot up to block the shot from Alexis.
United, completely against the run of play, grabbed a third goal. A counter attack fell to Lingard, who played Pogba down the wing. Pogba ran all the way down the sideline, and cut inside, out muscling Koscielny. He then dinked the ball to the back post, where Lingard was wide open to tap it in. It was a butter counter attack that silenced the Emirates faithful and restored some breathing room for United.
Herrera then came on for Martial to try and shore up a shaky United defense.
Arsenal came close to grabbing their second, when Koscielny made a lung busting run down the wing. He hit a low cross across the 6 yard box, but Rojo was just able to clear it away from the United goal.
The game continued to descend into madness as Paul Pogba was sent off. The Frenchman flew into a challenge but missed the ball, stepping on Bellerins leg. The referee deemed the challenge to be worthy of a red, which also means he’ll be suspended for 3 matches, one of which being the Manchester Derby.
Darmian then came on for Lingard to help United maintain the lead until the end of the match.
De Gea made another crucial save, when a Welbeck shot deflected high, and De Gea was just about able to tip it over the bar.
United got lucky when Darmian took down Welbeck in the penalty area, but the referee called play on. It looked like a pen, and the commentary team all thought it was as well.
United held on to the lead until the final whistle to earn a vital 3 points in a tough away match.
United’s next match is the Manchester Derby, as they host City at Old Trafford.