Arsenal v Man Utd Review – Neither side can complain about a draw

This was always going to be an intriguing game, with Man United being in excellent form until the midweek defeat by Sheffield United, and Arsenal of course unbeaten in the League since Christmas, so it was probably expected to be a very cagey affair.

The first 20 minutes were very even with a few chances created but the rivalry between the sides were evident, with Cedric sticking an arm into Bruno Fernandes’s face as they both jump for the ball, and not much later Fernandes raked his studs down Xhaka’s heel. Neither player was carded.

Then came the best chance of the first quarter when Fred had an wxcellent shot saved well by Leno to keep the Gunners in the game.

Marcus Rashford then missed the best chance of the game by dithering in front of goal, and that was all the best action from the first half.

Arsenal improved drastically after the break, even though Willian replaced Martinelli to much consternation from JustArsenal readers, but the Brazilian looked like he would only last ten minutes when the game was stopped to check out a knee injury but he recovered quickly.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 30: Marcus Rashford of Manchester United gets away from Granit Xhaka of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 30, 2021. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Cavani came close on the hour mark, but five minutes later Lacazette nearly sealed the points with a firce free kick that came back off the bar. With 15 minutes to go, David Luiz was given a chance of a free kick, but he couldn’t have been further over the bar if he wanted to!

We had a hairy moment at the death, but Cavani’s scissor kick went just wide of the post, and after that there was an injury to Lacazette which stopped play. He was replaced by Nketiah but by then the game had fizzled out.

A fair result?

At least Arsenal are still unbeaten since Xmas in the League…


  1. We were unlucky to be unable to score and we were also lucky not to be conceded, but Leno and our defenders were great today. Partey should improve his passing accuracy though, because he gave away our ball possession too many times

    If Lacazette is out for some games, we’d be doomed. None of our strikers has his hold-up ability

    1. Ok, today partey esa a bit rough with his accuracy, but Is not yo be worried…otherwise, he Is allways playing foward and playing quickly, and that’s why he Is so important to our build up…otherwise, we turn predictable, slow and start with the sideline passes, what is our main problem when we are in bsf days…partey Is fundamental to us.

      Pepe was great today IMO. I dont understand why Martinelli was changed…i Hope he Is ok

      1. Yeah, no reason to be worried. He had an off day which every player in the world has had, and give credit to united too who effectively pressed him to make mistakes. His passing every other game has been fantastic. He’ll pick it up next match so not concerned in the slightest.

      2. If Partey’s passing accuracy can be consistent, he’d be a world class box-to-box midfielder because his dribbling ability is excellent. Pepe’s ball control was surprisingly good today and he worked hard to defend/ press

        1. To be fair his passing is normally very consistent, hes a great passer he just had a bad day at the office, he’ll bounce back 👍

    2. Partey had a late fitness test so its understandable not that his passing hasn’t been accurate in previous games

  2. Fair result in the end, neither side deserved the win but Fernandes should’ve been go though, typical mancs 🤬🤬

  3. Thought it was a good performance against the side 2nd in the table. Both teams had chances to win but no finish to be found at either end. Have to give credit to Arteta for changing the mentality around defending for this club. 1st half may have been cagey but team worked hard and stuck it out, and we had some great blocks and balls won by our CB’s in 2nd half. Very happy with our defensive all around. Pepe is starting to at least look like a half-way decent player so that’s another positive. The first game Partey has really struggled with was today. Everything was just a bit off for him espescially his passing. united were really committed to closing him down as quick as possible with multiple players and it worked many times. 4 points off United this season is always a good season. Lets keep this up, and hopefully Laca and Martinelli will be fine.

  4. Man U are so lucky Saka didn’t play. That’s not to say Pepe didn’t have a good game, fair result.

    Arteta manager of the month!

  5. Arteta is yet to concede a goal against manu as a manager…

    Draw was a fair result. No urgency in the final third from both teams. Slightly better second half than the first half judging by the play from both teams..

    They had chances to score, we also had chances to score too….

    On a positive note, another clean sheet. I think four straight clean sheets at home..

    Unto the next one… wolves

  6. Tight game, good performance, Partey looks short of fitness (leading to being caught a few times). Good that we’re now competing with the top sides and it could have gone either way

    1. Thought Pepe showed he is adapting and pressing.
      He didn’t ask for his price tag.
      We stick with him.
      Willian another matter.
      Lost cause.

  7. Apart from Willian lingering over his one chance he was good today. He worked hard tracking back and set Pepe up for a good chance. Nice to see both him and Pepe gaining a bit of form as we are going to need all hands on deck.

    1. didn’t think he was good at all really. He had a 5 minute spell he was decent and thats about it. Every time ESR gave him the ball he’d stall with it and kill any forward momentum. Willian is an experienced player. It’s not good enough for me. I’m glad he wasn’t completely awful for once but cant say he was good today.

      1. Maybe my expectations of him have sunk too low! I thought he worked harder than usual and broke up a couple of promising ManU attacks. His best days are clearly over but hopefully he can still provide a couple of moments for him.
        We’ve got him for another 2.5 seasons so might as well hope for the best.

        1. Nah, i would say he worked hard as well. he was fine overall, which is an improvement to his other Arsenal performances.

    2. Disagree for once Trudeau! Lol. Better but still awful. Players kept waiting for him to run into space and each time he refused. I just realised I misread his skill spec. I thought he was our dead-ball taker, but actually he’s our dead ball-taker. Good deserved result with that line-up. Ironic that several of our potentally weakest players were amongst our best – Pepe (commiitted and skillful second game running), Luiz (solid), Xhaka (excellent, calm and omnipresent), Cedric. Laca, Holding and ESR also great. Weak were a disappointing Partey (something must be wrong there), Martinelli (I think its just fitness and confidence after the lay-off) and Bellerin (same old – no pace, didnt stop one cross, always out of position. Unless he’s setting up goals he’s a net liabilty) for me.
      My biggest Thumbs Up? The set-up and tactics. Well done MA, heart ripped out of the first team and but for a bad passing and finishing day we would have won, because the system itself worked against the second placed team. A much bigger step forward today than the result suggests.

  8. Not a bad performance at all. Just wish we had more options on the bench. Partey was definitely not himself today. This game shows that we can contend with the top four teams. We can only get better.

  9. Average in attack but great at defense. At least that’s what made me happy because we never looked like scoring. I hope Martinelli is alright. I was wondering why Odegaard never got a cameo today. He might have created something for us.

          1. Must have been the way the match was going. I wasn’t fully focused on it because I didn’t see us scoring. I also didn’t see us conceding too which is good

      1. I’m not saying we didn’t get clear chances but the match looked like a draw from a long way out. It was similar to Liverpool vs Man Utd in the EPL . There were clear chances but both teams never looked like they would score

  10. Xhaka played wonderful today, Partey pass needs to be worked on he gave possession away too much today, Luiz my MOTM, Lacaazette positioning is poor even though he had a good game today, Pepe seems to be picking up now, he was so so good again today. A draw is a fair result.

    1. Most of the possession he gave away was trying to dribble and his giveaways didn’t happen often. His passing is great. If anything its Bellerin who needs to improve and work on his decision amking and passing

      1. Totally agree alec, especially when we are trying do play out on a goal kick. It surprises me just how poor Bellerin is playing from the back. More often than not when we lose possession, its following a pass out to the byline to Bellerin. That was how Southampton scored in the FA Cup and it almost happened again today.

  11. Eleven players behind the ball everytime you lose it is just coward and injuries will just keep coming. We have to find a way to allow our attacking players to express themselves. Our defense is working but only at the expense of our wingers being on the back foot. #balance

    1. Jah Son do you realize we created around 7 chances today, that Lacaazette shot in the first half he should have at least make de gea sweat, and Pepe had 2 chances where he was unlucky not to score, Willian also had one chance that was blocked, overall I think we created enough chances to win we were just unlucky.

    2. Woe, woe and thrice woe! Doom gloom, the end of the world is nigh! Time to cut our throats as the world is about to end. All of life is pointless as you always die in the end!

      All the above books were written by JAH SON, Pessimist of the Year Award winner for many years running. But he is sadly – as I miss his cheerful humour – going to cut his own throat tonight as he is just SO DEPRESSED. Boo hoo!

    3. Didn’t see that at all, i must have watched a different match Jah, we managed the game ok in most ways.

    4. @jah son if you had typed this sh*t close to me truth be told i would have wiped you with a cane..what the hell are you saying

    5. Jah son, I have never met a “supporter” (although I’m not sure that’s the right word) as negative as you. Perhaps stop saying “we” and start saying “you”, because it certainly feels like you are not one of us.

  12. The unbeaten run continues. Arsenal tracking toward 6th/7th. Will take another season to rebuild the squad. 2022- 2023 will be our year to challenge for the title. Arteta is settling into the job now. Need to be patient.

  13. I enjoyed it, thought we played well..
    Another clean sheet – big shout out to our defenders! Loved Luiz’s celebration when he blocked that free kick!! He was my motm…
    Let’s hope Saka/Tesco are back for Tuesday and Auba isn’t too far behind that…although I have to say I’m really warming to Cedric!

    Arsenal have gone six consecutive league games against Manchester United without defeat, equalling their longest run in league history between 1980 and 1983.

        1. Haha yeah Sue long may they continue 😄 I can’t imagine the recent stats against wolves are all that good but I’ll wait for you to post them 😂 20 goals conceded from 21 games I like that stat 😃

  14. I am not one for hype but I thought we were definitely the hungrier and more forceful side. United were very unambitious and I expected far more passion from them after their defeat to Sheff Utd. Considering the key players we had injured I was proud of the ffort passion and organisation.

    At last – HALLEJUJAH- we actually have a defence. I have been waiting about twelve years to say that! Well done Gunners and well done MA, ” GRUDGES , NO MAN MANAGEMENT SKILLS AND FAVOURITES” and all, – according to the many young, rather silly, self entitled, juveniles on JA.

    1. Ironically, Mr. Jon – you do see that a lot had CHANGED since our VERY TERRIBLE run, which all your rant about “plastic fans” could not mask?
      You do realise that it was not until Saka began to play RW, ESR came into the team, Martinelli (even if only briefly), got to combine with them both to infuse some much needed zest and actual drive to perform – while the usual Arteta favorites passengers Willian and Pepe took the back seat, thanks ONLY to injuries and suspension?

      Arteta made VERY POOR decisions. We were not juvenile to question him. If anything, the idea that we must all embrace Arteta as this all-knowing, infallible Messiah is at least just as, if not perhaps even more “juvenile”.

      Do have a good day, sir. 😊

  15. I was surprised to see Odegaard making his debut today. But it was good to give him a run. Hoping to see more of him as he settles in.

  16. Great performance not a great result. Yes united had a clear chance with cavani but we created more chance and carved them open more times. The only player i was disappointed in of the starters was Partey, his distribution was poor and he gave the ball away too often. Thought Laca, Luiz, Holding, Cedric and Pepe stood out. I also think we were lopsided again especially after the substitutions. Ok we had KEY players missing but we should have won and we may regret we didnt.

    1. Partey had a late fitness test so cut him some slack besides bellerin seems to be the worst on the pitch today

    2. Agree Reggie – It seems contradictory but the set up, tactics, confidence and effort were great, as were I would say the performances of all but 3 of the starting 11 (Partey, Bellerin, to a lesser degree Martinelli), but our passing and finishing were not good. If it had been we would have buried them.

  17. Can’t we just hang on A. M. Niles and get rid of Willian, even if we have to take a hit again on the money, cause he is dragging us down, surely Edu & Mikel can out him and find someone to replace him or if not just use the money to pay for someone else come the summer.

  18. Good performance, especially given how many key players we had out, and others like Martinelli, and Partey not fully fit.

    Draw was a fair result, and I am really enjoying these clean sheets!

    I thought Cedric was our best player.

  19. I’m giving Pepe a good rating today, he was a handful and all that was missing was that goal but tracking back, taking players on and being more confident with his touch was there to be seen.

    Partey was abit off but he was a big distraction for Utd as they concentrated on him and Xhaka played the game well to make up for it.

    Willian showed a glimpse what he can do when he runs with confidence, he should’ve scored and he knows it. May not happen for him at Arsenal…

    Martinelli is concerning me with his fitness but looked sharp and at it when he was on for the 1st half. Cedric again was good at LB and we are unlucky, with the chances we had, not to be walking away with all the points. Take the chances when we have them & this was game over come midway in the 2nd half.

    All this without Teirney, Gabriel, Saka & Auba all not starting. Well done Mikel, good point and progress is being made.

  20. If you look at United top six record under Ole’ you would see. All am saying is the defense is going good but if you don’t find a way for attacking players to also express themselves then what. Grealish gets freedom at Villa. Question is will he be tied down to defend if he comes to arsenal.

    1. If you have been watching Arsenal, you’ll notice we have slowly been improving the attacking side of late.

      Even with some key players missing today, we were still good in the final third.

      1. We drew 0-0
        You can’t be good in the final third if you draw 0-0
        We drew 0-0 two weeks ago to Palace at home
        So let’s not overreact

  21. Other than cavani … Pepe and xhaka our best players today … didn’t think I’d say that … draw a fair result but a pretty awful footballing game … willian simply can’t play anymore and a manager who does is suspect

    1. RW1 I actually agree in that I dont think Willian will ever be good enough. BUT I said the same about Pepe. MA persevered and I cursed him every game he started him. Most others thought the same. I am close to admitting I was wrong. On that basis alone it is unreasonable to call MA a suspect manager. In fact if that alone is enough for you to call him suspect, I would say you cannot see the wood that is Arsenal’s development for the tree that is Willian.

  22. I’m amazed that Leno isn’t being singled out for praise I thought he was excellent and my MOTM.

    The comments regarding the subs bench being weak – with our injury list, what on earth did they expect?

    The defence was excellent and Soares looks a real snip.
    Hector has real competition at last – just need someone of the same quality to cover Tierney.

    ESR was great once again… it’s incredible to think that he was ignored and only circumstances saw him given his opportunity.

    Lacs continues to impress and if we had been able to choose our strongest squad, I personally believe we would have beaten manure quite comfortably.

    Just a note on the referee, he did book Suares and then, even with VAR looking at the challenge, didn’t see anything wrong with the studs tackle!!!
    I’m sorry, but this difference of interpretation has been going on for years… the only sour point in the match for me – kudos to Arteta as well for getting the backbone back.

    1. I thought the ref was shocking and unfair with his officiating. Why wasn’t Fenandez booked for raking his stoods on xhaka and others.

    2. Just watching Saints versus Villa and Mike Dean, using VAR, has decided that a deliberate handball was not a penalty!?!?!?!?
      Are these officials just complelety incompetent, or do they always want to be the centre of attention?!?!

      1. They are completely incompetent; that’s why Mike Riley and his cohorts don’t get called up for International matches.

    3. Hi Ken – good post. I think its goalkeepers curse. You tend to get noticed and praised only when you’re under the cosh for 90 mins, which we weren’t. 20 average saves can get you MOM, but 2 or 3 very good saves won’t. Yes he was excellent again, although I’ve never been happy that he doesnt claim the ball in the air. Great shopstopper. Yes pleased about ESR – he is eveywhere, links it all together. MUCH more than simply a no 10. So much luck in football about who gets a chance and who doesn’t – look at Balogun. I didn’t like the ref at all – it’s getting to be a habit with unconciously biased refs IMO. Always been a Laca lover – never understand people saying he doesnt try!

  23. It’s as if the kitchen sink days are gone. Are we too scared to bulldoze them over. It was there for the taking. Soooooo close if just took a chance.

  24. Without three first choices, Arteta will not be too disappointed with a point..Every player worked hard with Holding and Luis doing particularly well.ESR did not look out of place in this company and his running off the ball makes him so difficult to pick up.He has a bright future ahead of him.

  25. when a team played as we did irrespective of who is on the pitch, i can only say Magnificent. this team is high in confidence and despite utd mf build and status the like of ESR didnt shy away, and Xhaka-Partey match up to them. kudos.
    ill have 5 players on 7/8 rating. Leno, Luiz, cedric, Pepe, Holding, follow by above average contribution from Lacca,ESR, Partey, Bellerin, Martineli, Willian

    1. Hi Ada, I think 2 things pleased me most today
      1 The system worked. Although I too would mark players highly, actually we didnt pass or finish well at all. But the system, teamwork, confidence while missing perhaps our best 2 players this season, almost won us the game anyway
      2 Our weakest players normally were our strongest today Luiz, Pepe, Cedric, Xhaka covered for poorer games from our stars. Really gratifying and bodes well for squad depth.

      1. am happy with the system and this is all we have been hoping for, to get a good performance from whoever wear the shirt

  26. Great game, they played like a team, no one went hiding. Partey may have lost possession severally but his ability to make forward clever passes is second to none, Xhaka looks revitalised, soaks that pressure well. But for me man of the match would be cedric for a right back to cover for a left back like that plus his work rate. Time Bellerin takes the bench when Tierney returns.

      1. “Bu***r all Chux. Always out of position, no pace, can’t tackle, never blocks crosses, creates very little’ There comes a point when being a long serving player and a nice guy are not enough to blind us to the fact that, not only will he never fulfill the potential he once showed, but that he is now a shadow of the player he was 3-4 years ago

  27. Probably an acceptable result tho shame we couldn’t put one of those chances away..

    Accepting we had 3 regulars out today(KT, BS, PEA) I thought it unfair to start Martinelli in that role – as willing as he is, he’s not a natural there. Yes Partey needs match fitness as does ESR

    Next match – Cedric at RB, AMN at LB, drop Bellerin please..

  28. It appears like the primary tactical objective was to not allow ManU to find success playing on the counter-attack…a logical blueprint due to the Sheffield performance mid-week…not a great passing game for either team and both were rather wasteful with their respective few chances…Partey clearly wasn’t his normal crisp-passing self, but Pepe looked more confident on the right than we’ve seen so far this season…a draw seemed like a fair result considering the display by both teams

    I must admit that I’m quite concerned about our squad moving forward…our inability to establish a regular starting best 11, due to the considerable amount of should-be starters who seem to be oft-injured, is going to make it incredibly difficult to be consistent enough to challenge for top trophies(not to mention, some concerns I’ve had with Arteta’s selection process)

    over the past calendar year the following players have missed more than a handful of games due to injuries: Tierney, ESR, Partey, Marts, Cedric and Mari…the players I least want to see in our starting 11 moving forward seem to be our most available options

    of course, as Arsenal fans, we’re hyperaware of the inherent complications and heartache that come with having injury prone players, but from an organizational standpoint, you simply can’t ignore this fact when you’re making crucial decisions regarding future recruitment

    this is an even bigger dilemma for a club that doesn’t have the financial wherewithal, due to our “self-sustaining” business model, to properly acquire adequate cover in so many crucial positions, which usually leads to half-measures and band-aid solutions

    1. It’s been our problem for years RVL. For me its not that we have to get a deeper squad, more that we must identify WHY we get more injuries (short term, long term and career ending) over a very long period than, as far as Im aware, any other major club.
      Is it buying the wrong players, be that injury prone or high risk playing style, is it our medical/physio staff, dietary regime, training methods, playing style, the grass we practice and play on, the boots?

      1. there’s already stories emerging about just how bare our coffers are for the upcoming summer window, even though we should have a vastly decreased wage bill…if you think about our history regarding our lack of purchases in positions where we had players that would have been the chosen starter if healthy, it raises some serious concerns for me…from Diaby to Ramsey to Rosicky to Wiltshire to Santi etc, etc, etc…the list is seemingly endless and I’m not even going too far back…for a team with frugal tendencies these type of situations can have a devastating affect on our ability to compete…the only saving grace, is that most of the injury-prone players, minus Partey, aren’t currently on incredibly cost-prohibitive wages, so hopefully this will allow for some incoming help…the bigger question might be can we afford to take a quality over quantity approach to recruitment if this situation continues to persist…fingers-crossed

  29. Both pepe and willian had good games, hope it is where they revert to a good level consistently because regardless of their poor form this season they are 2 good players.

  30. i do believe that willian is our most consistent player !, consistently bad that is.he has not got a clue , lacks confidence ?, no, lacks motivation and skill. pepe is improving all the time, i eat my words i have to say regarding him, i did not think he had it in him. but if he continues to improve he just might make it.

  31. I was initially disappointed to see the result. But after hearing the accounts of the match, really gutted to have missed the game. We are playing well, I think around late next year we could become genuine contenders with a similar growth rate shown. Just need to sort out non playing issues like strength training, mole in the dressing room, better contract negotiations etc.

  32. We are on the up boys and girls. This season is wild and we are weathering the storm. Everyone fit and ready, we will start blowing away the smaller sides and reestablish our top 4 status.
    Gooner pride

  33. Well, we got a point, but once again, we could not score against a good team! We really do need a top striker if we are to get into the Europa League next season, let alone the UCL. I believe our new savior Odegaard needs to find his feet quickly if he is to help us at all. I thought Arteta should not have taken ESR off for Odegaard, there were plenty of other players he could/should have taken off! ESR is at the point in his career where he needs a lot of positive feedback from Arteta so he can continue to improve. What he does not need, is to be constantly looking over his shoulder to see if he is to be replaced!! Another thing that worries me about Arteta is his constant use of Willian. I worry it might be another example of Einstein’s quote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

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