By Walter Broeckx
A few changes compared to the last two matches. Some because of suspension other just an attempt to pick the best team. Arsenal playing with 3 central defenders a tactic that didn’t Always work so far this season. Up front we have the combination of Aubameyang and Lacazette with Özil also starting. No Torreira of course as he is suspended.
Arsenal team: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Özil, Aubameyang, Lacazette
On the beach: Cech, Mustafi, Elneny, Guendouzi, Suarez, Iwobi, Nketiah.
A sharp cross from Kolasinac but Lacazette just couldn’t make contact enough to turn it in the goal. Aubameyang with a overhead kick after a free kick but the ball went well over. Lacazette with a header but off target. All Arsenal in the opening 5 minutes. Aubameyang almost got away but he had to go outside and then his cross went over. Aubameyang with a shot from distance but well over. United with a first attack and the cross finds Lukaku but his effort bounces off the crossbar and then Arsenal can somehow clear the danger not without almost losing the ball again in their own penalty area. That came out of nothing. Xhaka then got the ball some 25 meters out. And he took a shot that completely surprised De Gea who didn’t anticipate the nasty curve on the ball. GOAL! 1-0 to The Arsenal after 12 minutes.
Xhaka almost finding Aubameyang but De Gea out to pick up the ball at the edge of the penalty area. Arsenal 1-0 in front after 15 minutes.
Özil to Lacazette who creates some space for a shot but it is blocked in the end. Maitland-Niles with a good defensive header back to Leno to prevent a possible danger attack from United. Fred with a low shot from distance but it hit the outside of the post. A good combination on the right flank between Özil and Maitland-Niles is setting up Ramsey but he can’t wrap his foot around the ball and shoots over. Rashfort suddenly in some space in the Arsenal penalty area but the ball ended up near the corner flag for a goal kick. Lacaezette with some strong work in retaining the ball but his shot was deflected off Smalling for a corner. Pogba with a very optimistic shot from a long way out but no problem for Leno. Lukaky with a dangerous looking cross that goes just wide of the Arsenal goal. Kolasinac with a dangerous run but he can’t find Aubameyang. Arsenal still 1-0 in front after 30 minutes.
United get a free kick but the resulting shot goes well over. A combination between Lacazette and Aubameyang ends with a shot but he Lacazette was off balance and the ball went well off target. Lukaku suddenly between two defenders but Leno stretched himself and blocked the shot and the ball hobbled wide. Moss then giving a yellow card for a foul from Sokratis against Pogba. Smalling then riding on the back of Kolasinac but he headed wide. The assistant on the Arsenal attacking side flaghappy and sometimes missing it when Özil was onside. Not his first mistake. I wonder if he will be as flaghappy in the second half. Being level is enough for Arsenal palyers to be called offside. Özil being pulled by the shirt just in front of the same assistant is somehow missed. United can counter then but Xhaka first on the ball to prevent a shot from Rashford. Xhaka getting injured with that action but no card comes out of the pocket of Moss. 2 minutes of added time at the end of the first half. Arsenal enter the dressing room 1-0 in front after 45 minutes.
No changes in the Arsenal team at half time. Leno having to come a very long way out of his area to deny Lukaku but he did it very cool and even launching Ramsey almost. Lacazette with a good dribble but the return pass then from Aubameyang was not good enough and then he also slipped. United having the better start and Koscielny with a brave block and then Leno with a briljant block when Lukaku was level with the last defender and the flag stayed down. Koscielny needing to be helped by the doctor after having tried to block Lukaku his effort so he was missed with the corner that had the ball jumping up and down in our penalty area. Pogba then with a headlock against Ramsey but again no card from Moss? That could have been very dangerous and could have caused a serious neck injury ref. Moss the not knowing who should take a throw so giving the ball to the team who picked up the ball. He looked completely tired already at the end of the first half in a match that went up and down the whole time. Maitland-Niles now neading treatment after he had stopped a United attack but he looked fine to continue. Moss now really in United mood with giving free kicks where for similar use of the body Arsenal didn’t get the free kick. Arsenal suffering in the second half but still 1-0 in front after 60 minutes.
Arsenal counter and Özil gives it to Aubameyang but his effort hits a defender and the chance goes away. A dangerous run from Rashford but Maitland-Niles clears the danger. Young with a dangerous studs on the foot of Koscielny. Needless to say Moss didn’t see it. After another missed foul bu Moss Leno has to dive in the feet of a United striker. We can’t come near a United player. Xhaka with a shot from outside the penalty area after a long attack but 1 meter wide. Lacazette then runs in the penalty area and gets a push in the back and to my surprise Moss points to the spot. Aubameyang takes it and scores! GOAL!! 2-0 to The Arsenal after 69 minutes. Got to admire his balls to take it after his miss last week…..
The ball bounces over a United player but Lacazette drags his shot wide. I now see an idiot ran on the field and pushed Smalling after our goal. Hope he gets punished.That is something we cannot allow to happen. A dangerous corner is just cleared by a defender in front of Lacazette. Iwobi is getting ready to come on. Arsenal still 2-0 in front after 75 minutes.
Pogba gets a yellow card for stopping a possible Arsenal counter. Özil goes off after 76 minutes and Iwobi comes on. Lukaky pushes Sokratis and Moss calls the foul. Blimey Moss has completely changed halfway the second half. After 79 minutes Suarez came on for Aubameyang. Suarez with a good ball to Iwobi but a defender can cut out his cross with 2 Arsenal players lurking to pounce. Moss then misses the obious corner for Arsenal. Lacazette goes of after 86 minutes and Nketiah comes on. Maitland-Niles with a great interception to stop a dangerous United attack. Kolasinac gets a deserved yellow card for a block. Nketiah with a strong challenge in midfield but his pass to Iwobi is cut out by a defender. 5 minutes of extra time. Arsenal still 2-0 in front after 90 minutes.
Rashford with a header but Leno with the stop. Sokratis wins he goalkick when Martial tried to cross while the rain comes pouring down. Arsenal digging deep to keep the clean sheet.
Arsenal manage to win a hard fought victory. The first defeat of United under Solsjkaer. But what is more important we take 4th place with this win.
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