By Walter Broeckx
Well what a starting line up from Arsenal : Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Mavropanos, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Aubamayang.
On the beach: Cech, Holding, Monreal, Osei-Tutu, Willock, Welbeck, Nketiah
Mavropanos being the 200th player to make his debut for Wenger in the Wenger era and what a place to make it. Mkhitaryan having his first minutes since his injury so I think he will only be used to get him a bit of match rhytm. Sir Alex Ferguson presenting Wenger a goodbye present before the match together with Mourinho. United with most of the ball but apart from miskick from Pogba no real goal chances in the first 10 minutes and Arsenal B trying to play along with United. A shot from Nelson just at the 15 minute mark so still 0-0.
The ref gives no foul against Nelson in midfield and United can attack. Lukaku with a cross to Alexis but from the leg of Bellerin the ball ends against the post and then falls for Pogba who can tap home. 1-0 after 17 minutes. A great combination on the right flank over Maitland-Niles, Mkhitaryan, Bellerin and then back to the first who lays it off for Mkhiaryan who takes a low shot that just goes wide. A goog chance for Arsenal after a lovely piece of football. Friend then again letting a clear foul on Nelson unpunished when the young player was clearly held back by a United player. When Xhaka holds Lingard he gets a yellow card….. must be the presence of Ferguson before the match I think…. Twice in twenty seconds an Arsenal player goes down in the United penalty area but by now we should expect nothing anymore from the ref. A good attack from Arsenal but De Gea intercepts the cross from Bellerin in front of Aubamayang. Friend giving a foul in favour of Arsenal to celebrate the 30 minutes with the score still 1-0.
A cross from Bellerin finds Aubamayang but his header is direct at the keeper. A lucky bounce suddenly saw the ball ending up against the arm of Lukaku but luckily his shot was deflected and Ospina could collect the ball. The ref didn’t see the handball from Lukaku but could see a ball against the arm of Xhaka. Young with a cross that hits the post but that wasn’t the intention I think. At the other end Aubamayang with a cross to Nelson but headed it wide. Friend continues to give nothing to one of the young Arsenal players. Arsenal go in at half time being 1-0 down. The young players held their own rather well.
Mavrapanos with a strong challenge on the ball and Lukaku starting an Arsenal attack but Maitland-Niles his shot was blocked. Lukaku came off after that tackle. Xhaka with a good interception giving the ball to Mkhitaryan and his low shot found the back of the net. GOAL! 1-1 after 51 minutes.
Maitland-Niles with a good block after a dangerous United attack. Another good attack but Mkhitaryan took a shot while a cross might have been the better option. Young kicking Mkhitaryan twice but no yellow card of course…. Still 1-1 after 60 minutes.
Kolasinac down looking injured and Monreal preparing himself. It looked like an ankle problem. Welbeck coming on for Nelson at the same time. Welbeck winning the ball high up the field but his shot was in the middle of the goal so no problem for De Gea. Mavrapanos with a few good defensive actions. Ospina down injured when colliding with Fellaini and needing some treatment as he held his back. Willock as standing ready to enter the field but we sure will wait before this substitution will be made. 1-1 after 75 minutes. And Mkhitaryan does go off and Willock does enter the field.
Willock just cant capitalise when Smalling half slips but the ball falls kindly for De Gea. A dangerous cross from Young cna’t find the head of Fellaini. Arsenal now without Mkhitaryan and this is visible as we have to defend more now. But Chambers and Mavraponos doing an excellent job so far. Iwobi overstretching himself a bit when trying to get on a long ball from Chambers. Let us hope he isn’t injured. Maitland-Niles also having a great match. A counter just can’t find Welbeck as Smalling is first on the ball. And then United counter a cross goes to Fellaini who heads against the post and the ball bounces in from Rashford. United thought they scored but the flag went up for offside and the goal was ruled out. Correct decision! But it lifted the crowd and another cross found Fellaini and this time he headed it in. 2-1 in minute 92. The ball bouncing a bit between the heads of Xhaka and Fellaini. We sure didn’t deserve to lose this match with the team we played and the way we played. Welbeck being unhappy with the ref about a possible high foot in the build up of the United goal. But Friend was not our real friend today.
The 2-1 defeat is bitter in the way it came right at the end. But for the rest our b-team held themselves very well and the youngster can be proud on themselves.
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