By Walter Broeckx
If there is anything you cannot afford to do against Manchester United it is to give them a two goal advantage in the first 10 minutes. And that is exactly what we did.
First Koscielny with a bad diagonal ball to Kolasinac that was intercepted by Valencia who could go on and score the 0-1 after 4 minutes. A shock to the system and things got worse when Mustafi lost the ball in a childish way to Lingard who after 3 passes was at the end of the attack and his shot went in from the goalpost. 0-2 after 11 minutes.
That would have been enough to sink most teams and get them down on the ground. Mustafi came off injured after that second goal and Iwobi came on and Arsenal switched their system going to 4 at the back.
Arsenal then started to go forward an put MU under enormous pressure. Attack after attack and some real dangerous situations but the chances were squandered or the MU keeper was on the right place to make some great stops. Lacazette on the end of a ball in the area but the ball bounced against he leg of De Gea and then ran out at the wrong side of the goal post. Lacazette diverting a shot from Ramsey that fell on to of the goal. A situation in the MU penalty area where Lacazette had a shot that somehow was pushed against the crossbar by De Gea and the rebound came to Xhaka whose shot shaved the foot of the post. Özil with a shot but De Gea stopped it. Matic can do no wrong with the ref making deliberate foul after foul but no yellow card. Another Özil shot was diverted in to a corner by a defender. Iwobi with a shot but over. Bellerin with a shot but parried away by De Gea and seconds later Kolasinac with a shot from distance but again De Gea with the save.
We had enough chances to be comfortable in front after 45 minutes but we find ourselves 0-2 down because of 2 bad mistakes from our central defenders who have been so good so far this season. Shit happens… We on the other hand should have scored at least 2 or 3 goals.
Arsenal continue to press forward in the second half but Lacazette heads the ball wide. But a goal had to come. Alexis with a cross to Ramsey who plays it back to Lacazette who is completely on his own from 6 meters out and he makes no mistake. 1-2 after 49 minutes.
Arsenal take a breather after having been on the attack for and Pogba plays in Lingaard but Cech with a hand to the shot that bounces against the post and Monreal is on hand to block the rebound shot with his back. Matic with an elbow against Lacazette. The ref sees no wrong.
At the other end Iwobi with a shot but De Gea again there. Lacazette then with a shot but it went wide. Iwobi with a shot that takes a deflection but again De Gea can palm it away. Alexis with a cross but the header from Iwobi goes over. And then the minute that should have changed the match. Lacazette with a great shot but De Gea with an equal great (another) save. The balls comes to Alexis who only 4 meters away from the goal has a shot but somehow De Gea manages to save it with his foot when he was already down.
Dangerous cross after dangerous cross comes in from Arsenal but somehow we cannot find the back of the net. And then the killer blow. Pogba with a counter attack and he finds Lingard at the second post who can push the ball over the line. 1-3 after 63 minutes. What a blow for Arsenal that had been working so hard. Against the run of play as they say.
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Alexis with a dangerous shot but again De Gea with the save. Arsenal back to attacking full throttle but you can feel something has been broken with the 3rd goal. But still we have shots but the MU buss is of decent material and they block most efforts and the ones that go past it find an extraordinary De Gea on their way. Welbeck comes on for Xhaka who had lost Lingard with the 3rd goal.
Bellerin gets a well deserved yellow card after fouling Young. And minutes later Pogba goes in with his studs on the back of the knee on Bellerin and Marinner had no option then to give the red card. This could have been a season ending for Bellerin who isn’t his normal himself after that. Luckily Bellerin can continue. Giroud comes on for Kolasinac.
Alexis with a dangerous cross but nobody at the end. A shot from Lacazette is blocked. Welbeck with a shot that takes a deflection but again De Gea is in the right place. Lukaku and Koscielny foul each other a few times but Lukaku seems to get a bit of advantage and then he goes down under pressure from Koscielny. Koscielny only gets a yellow card.
Then the moment when Marinner did what he always do: don’t give Arsenal a penalty. Never. 3 or 4 not given at Stoke. Now again. Welbeck cuts out his marker in the penalty area and the MU defenders clearly kicks the standing leg of Welbeck away. A clear penalty but nothing given. That would have been the chance to score a possible 2-3 but if we get Marinner again this season we should get at least 4 or 5 imaginary penalties in our favour.
Alexis and Herrera have a discussion and Marinner gives them both a yellow card. Ramsey with a shot on the turn but the ball goes over. After the not given penalty the shoulders from Arsenal players drop as they know it is again impossible to get even the clearest decision in the opponents penalty area.
Some numbers 75 % possession for Arsenal against 25 for MU. Mu had 8 shots in total and scored 3 goals. Arsenal had 30 shots (blocked not counted) and only one goal. Mind you we should have had at least one penalty. 12 corners for Arsenal against 1 for MU. The players fought like lions after their terrible start and on any other day and with another keeper than De Gea we would have won this match.
We completely dominated MU but gave the ball cheaply away twice in the opening minutes and paid for that.
But I will not be throwing stones at Koscielny and Mustafi. They have been great for us this season so far and this is something that can happen. It is painful that it happened in this match but such is live. You don’t always get what you want and sometimes things can go horribly wrong. Let us hope we have done our giving away of goals for the rest of this season.
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