Arsenal winning at Old Trafford and a clean sheet just feels so good

Arsenal finally win at Old Trafford! by Konstantin Mitov

Good morning, afternoon or whatever part of the day or night it is for you lovely Arsenal people! We’ve won away at Old Trafford! I remember that day in 2006 when Fabregas danced past Ronaldo to give it to Adebayor, who slid it in their net. Fourteen long years later, we went there, were the better team and managed to grind out the result.

We dominated United in midfield. The key for me was dropping Xhaka and Ceballos. They were utterly atrocious against Leicester, while Partey and Elneny were dynamic. This was probably Mo Elneny’s best game for Arsenal. He was strong on the ball, looking for forward passes, demanding the ball at his feet, covering in defense, everything was there. The same applies for Partey who had Pogba in his pocket all game. He made 11 ball recoveries! That performance is what the hype was all about when we got him, and why we paid 45 mils for him. Now it’s up to him to keep it up.

Another new signing that was just excellent was Gabriel. A steal at 27 million, he’s been one of our most solid players this season. He was aggressive, pressing United players on the ball up to the half way line. He was a bit lucky in the second half with a poor tackle on a yellow, but his desire and determination were excellent.

I was also pleasantly surprised with Holding. The boy has been unlucky with injuries every time he’s just about to have a solid place in the team, but he was strong in the air, good on the ball and our back line with him, Gabriel and Tierney made me feel comfortable. We were playing out of the back trying to draw United in and create space and the movement in our midfield helped that.

Another major improvement on our last 2 league games was the right hand side. Willian had his first proper game since Fulham. Unlucky with the bar, set up Bellerin for the penalty, there was a purpose for him on the pitch. Hector was present up the pitch, won the penalty, set it up for Saka on a plate, almost set up Auba, I was really happy with him.

We just were more positive in our approach and we got rewarded for trying to control the game instead of waiting to pounce on a mistake, even though that’s what eventually won us the game. We even had an idea how to shut up shop. We took the lead twice at OT under Emery and failed to keep it for 10 minutes combined. Yesterday we kept it together and managed out the game.

Overall I must give it to Arteta this time for actually changing things up and learning from past mistakes. He tried Mustafi against Leicester, was let down by him again and went with Holding instead and I liked it. No Xhaka, no Dani, no sideways and back and no problems.

This win feels so good, because it’s our first in 30 games against the ‘top six’ (whatever that means these days) away, but we shouldn’t get carried away. If there was a downside to our play, it’s the fact we again didn’t create too many clearcut chances and the once we did we missed. Saka really should’ve done better with a free header, or at least hit the target and force the keeper to make a save. Willian hit the bar, and I thought if it was Pepe on his left foot where it might have ended, but it wasn’t the easiest chance again.

Then we had that counter where Alexandre Lacazette tried to slip Auba but gave him the ball just a bit behind and his shot went wide. Arteta was right about the small margins. If we were a little more precise we could’ve scored from open play, which is a bit of a problem for us in recent times. I was worried that missing those chances might affect our confidence again, but Pogba luckily for us was too rash and we won the game.

This game kind of suited us though. They were looking a bit better with a huge CL win, we were doing poorly in the league, it was the perfect set up for when nobody expected us to turn up. Now we have Villa and Leeds, who’ve given teams like City and Liverpool a real game. It’ll be a different challenge where we’ll need to break and the pressure and expectations will be back on us.

I expect us to be brave and maybe even try to improve on that goal difference of just plus 2. But hey, we have the best defense in the league so far and that clean sheet feels so good!

Konstantin

Tags Man United

26 Comments

  1. Sue says:

    Glad you have a smile on your face after that awesome performance yesterday, Konstantin! Just think, we have more league wins at Old Trafford this season, than United 😂😂😂😂

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      😂😂

    2. Kstix says:

      Haha Good one. Still buzzing. What a performance

    3. Loose Cannon says:

      Cheers Sue, Mikel has achieved a feat by wining back to back games against ManU, only done by the legend Herbet Chapman in 1927. Mikel will go down in our history books as the greatest modern era manager after GG, wining the FA & CS in his first 6 months of active football, back to back wins against ManU, who knows what more greatness lies ahead for us. Demand a statue for Mikel now!

      1. Sue says:

        👍 Brilliant, LC…the future is soooo bright!! Statue – imagine the hair on it?!! Hahaha…

      2. Sid says:

        Aren’t you forgetting someone when you make that comparision? Greatest in modern era for Arsenal should not be only compared to GG, there is one other legendary name that they have to atleast emulate in order to be called that. Even GG won a European trophy, so I guess we should not pressure MA, atleast not now.

  2. RSH says:

    Dont forget to send thank you’s to Pogba, and to tell Rashford he can come out of Gabriel’s pocket. Nothing can be done about the nightmares United’s midfield will have after being bossed by Partey

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      😂😂

  3. Adetunji says:

    Laca need assistance, with all his efforts and performance, he should be able to score goals, psychological assistance is needed for laca, he is loyal, and always try his best but loose focus since liverpool game, if not best laca would have helped us than that in yesterday game…. But am waiting for mattinelli to return

  4. ACE says:

    Pretty surs Keane and Scholles
    are sobbing somewhere over a
    1/5 th of Talisker Skye. 😁😂

    Sorry boys Partey is not coming
    to OT anytime soon, well other
    than possibly to kick Ole’s ass in
    either of the Cup competitions
    yet to be played.

  5. RSH says:

    first league win there in 14 years. I’m trash talking for a bit 😂

    1. Sue says:

      Plus, you didn’t have to reach for the make up, RSH 😂 You go for it – I’ve been bragging all morning to a poor little manc 😂😂

  6. Lucia says:

    Why has no one mentioned bellerin’s performance yesterday? Man is on a mission.he looks determined yesterday. He was switched on all the time. Greenwood,rashford,Pogba none of them could pass him. Give credit where it’s due. And shout out to holding whom I think is a better player compared to Chambers and mustafi. One thing you will always notice about holding is, he isn’t fazed about the striker infront of him be it cavani,rashford or Costa, man’s gonna bully you all he wants. Oh special mention to elneny. He should continue to prove everyone wrong. He has always been a good player, nothing spectacular but he never hides. Great game by everyone no passengers anymore in this team. Coyg

    1. Shambo says:

      You are right there 👍the guy is one of the best in EPL playing on that position and he dose it with a swagger 😁

  7. Grandad says:

    Pace is the only attribute which Holding lacks.That apart he is a tough CB who reads the game well and is excellent in the air.When we have the ball, Tierney moves forward and immediately creates a virtual 4-3-3 set up which suits Holding and Gabriel.Keeping a clean sheet at Old Trafford is always difficult as Man Utd hold the record for penalty awards at home.Yesterday they never looked like getting a penalty which is a tribute to Messrs Holding, Gabriel and Tierney.One minor downside observation on the game yesterday, is the fact that neither Bellerin nor William have the searing pace they used to have.They both worked hard and did well but their speed which was a main asset for Bellerin , is no longer there.

  8. YAKS says:

    It was a great outing.GOYG

  9. Maxis says:

    Even with the 2 assist that Willian had in the Fulham match, I think his performance yesterday was his best since joining us.

  10. GunneRay says:

    Great performance from the team although the finishing is still a bit of a concern. They guys looked up for it and the passing was crisp. I’ve always said that Xhaka is not the right kind of midfielder for an attacking line up. Partey was the difference in this squad becoming more direct going forward and more stable going back!

    Elneny was impressive too and maybe this will be the midfield pairing going forward for MA?

    Saka is growing with every game too which is great. I desperately want to see Martinelli instead of Laca. Willian had a better game and I’m hoping he is finding his feet in the Arsenal squad now because Pepe needs to up his game now!

    Finally we win to a top 6 team and that may be all the confidence boost we need to push on into the top four. Time will tell!?

    COYG!!

    1. Loose Cannon says:

      Should I confidently say a win against the bottom 6? That is where ManU are there right now, C’mon Brighton, you guys are just 2 points off ManU, you’ll can overtake ’em

  11. Franko says:

    Now we know who Partey’s partner in midfield is in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Elneny, he played on Thursday and played on Sunday running the whole pitch up to the 93 minute. The guy has stamina. I used to criticize him a couple of years ago because he was slow but now he has woken up and looks quick on the ball and his passes too which is something I wanted from all the Arsenal players. Good one there Elneny. And Xhaka should be given a new role in the middle of a 3 man defense in the cup games. He was excellent there against Dondalk F.C.

  12. jon fox says:

    What I personally hope is the best outcome of this new midfield setup is that XHAKA will cease being a regular.

    Better still if he leaves the club completely and I HAVE NOT CHANGED MY MIND ONE JOT SINCE THE FIRST MONTH HE JOINED, WHEN RIGHT FROM THE START WE COULD ALL SEE HIS LACK OF MOVEMENT, LACK OF PACE AND RASHNESS.

    Consistently, I have been urging his exit from at least the team and at best the club. I do NOT think he will leave AFC anytime soon but remain hopeful that his days as a regular are over, at least in Prem games.

  13. S.J says:

    You needed to see the looks on Xhaka face from the bench stand.
    He knew his automatic starting spot has been taken away by Elneny. The long lasting romance has been destroyed.

  14. Franko says:

    Xhaka can be reverted to a central back 3 pairing in 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation. He will be in the middle of the back 3 and he can reinvent himself there in the cup games. He will focus on defending and those long balls up front el la David Luiz. style. He did great in that position against Dondalk FC

    1. lcw says:

      I hope not. The boy avoids every high ball like he is protecting his head. He also can’t jump more than one cm off the ground. Xhaka is a great competitor who always gives it his best but he lacks athleticism for the EPL.

  15. RFrancis says:

    Konstantin has got his groove back – so glad to see.
    I know it’s a good morning in goonerland, everyone is pumped, but I can’t stop replaying in my mind all the headers we have missed or failed to capitalize on this season. Ignoring attempts from set plays, Auba and Laca have missed at least two; and Pepe and Saka one. One thing is clear however: our wing backs are delivering high quality crosses into the box, but we are still learning best to attack them. Oliver Giroud, comes to mind, but he is no longer here.

    The popular talking point at the moment is midfield creativity, but the results so far clearly show (especially the last two games) the team is in dire need of a number 9 with physical presence and clinical heading/finishing abilities.
    These traits will also be useful in games against scrappy teams like Brighton, Burnley and Crystal Palace. Maybe this is the missing part of the puzzle.

    Is anyone from the scouting department listening or reading?

    1. Demo says:

      Scouting department is too far. We have mertileni. Pls don’t forget that in a hurry

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