Arsenal earn a battling draw against United by Konstantin Mitov
Welcome lovely Arsenal people! Arsenal got a battling draw against Man Utd and in the end I think it was a good game. When I saw our line up I was really worried.
Tierney didn’t even make the bench, Aubameyang was again missing due to some personal issues but the biggest hit was Saka failing a late fitness test and missing from the squad at all.
The game was back and forward with chances on both ends. In the first half, after minute 20 United dominated and we had to survive a few scares. Our passing was really sloppy and we lost the ball a few times by failing to play it out from the back.
The second half was much better. We introduced Willian at half time and this was his best performance since day one. We created a few chances, but Willian and Smith Rowe failed to find the target and Pepe had a shot blocked, then a fine effort drifted just wide of the post.
Laca hit the post from a free kick, but in the end fine margins in our finishing left us with only 1 point. That said, Cavani missed 2 chances to nick the game, especially one in the end. Leno also made an unbelievable save that helped us keep a clean sheet.
All and all a fair result on the balance of play, but I leave with a more positive feeling. Despite some ropey defending that was a 4th clean sheet in a row at home in all competitions.
There were some good performances, especially from Pepe, who was my man of the match. He was our most dangerous player, his pressing was good and he was tracking back. I had a lot of criticsm for him, but with displays like that, he might challenge for a regular place again.
Willian also gave a performance of note. With all the players missing, we really needed someone to step up and I was happy to see it from players under pressure.
On the other end, I think Thomas Partey struggled and our midfield failed to move the ball forward with the pace we did recently. It likely has something to do with the absence of Saka, which also affected Xhaka, who didn’t have the energy and the runners up front to put in slicing passes.
In the end I’m happy with the performance, especially under the circumstances. A path to the top 4 in our situation is always a longshot. This was our seventh game in a row where we didn’t lose in the league. Before this run, our best undefeated run featured just 2 games. Wolves and Villa away next. Difficult games, but with players hopefully returning fresh in the squad, I’m feeling positive.