First of all I think that we Arsenal fans and Arsene Wenger should be feeling some rare gratitude towards Jose Mourinho and his Manchester United players today, after they frustrated Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Anfield. Not only did that 0-0 draw stop the scousers from joining Arsenal on 19 Premier League points, but it may have dealt a heavy blow to the ominous looking momentum that Liverpool were building.
Hopefully it will also give other EPL teams, including the Gunners, a good pointer towards the way to play against both teams. The former Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown was certainly impressed with the way Mourinho set United up and the way they frustrated the high energy and heavy pressing style of the home team, as he explained in a BBC report.
Keown said, “United got the point they came for. You have got to give them credit because most teams that go to Anfield just get undone. Usually it is an ordeal but it looked comfortable for them.
“It was a really good performance by United – clever in fact.
“Liverpool like to win the ball off you high up the pitch, but United denied them that opportunity because they hit it long from every goal-kick instead of trying to play out from the back. How often do you see David de Gea doing that?
“United were also using delaying tactics from the off to stop Liverpool finding any of their rhythm. Overall, Jose Mourinho set his side out to frustrate them and they have done exactly that.
“United’s best player? Ander Herrera, because of his work-rate, the number of times he won the ball, and how close he stuck to Philippe Coutinho throughout.”
Wenger and Arsenal know only too well how dangerous Liverpool can be, although their opening day win at the Emirates was against a weakened Arsenal that had not got into our stride yet. The Gunners do not go to Anfield until March but hopefully when we do it will be in a good position to challenge for the title and with the right game plan to get at least a point, and if Wenger was as impressed by United’s clever tactics as Keown we might see someone like Coquelin or Xhaka detailed with keeping their playmaker Coutinho quiet.
The other aspect of last night’s match from and Arsenal point of view is, of course, what we can expect when coming up against United and that is set to haoppen straight after the next international break. Hopefully by then we will have seen off Ludogorets, Middlesborough, Reading, Sunderland and Tottenham.
If Arsenal do head to Old Trafford in fine form I think we can expect another dogged and disciplined defensive display from United, so will Wenger and the lads be able to break them down where Liverpool failed?