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United come back twice in thrilling draw

Jesse Lingard celebrates his second-half strike. AFP

United come back twice in thrilling draw

Elliot Turnbull by Elliot Turnbull @rfutbol - 0 9,920

Arsenal have extended their unbeaten record to 20 matches in all competitions as they were held to a draw in a fascinating game at Old Trafford. Manchester United came back twice in the first meeting between the two clubs, without Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger, since 1986.

Jose Mourinho made seven changes to the side which drew away at Southampton, a result which lost Mark Hughes his job, with Dalot, Darmian and Lingard all coming in. In his pre-match notes Mourinho mentioned how he would only select players who are ready “to give it their all” for Manchester United, Pogba and Lukaku were benched.

Manchester United were hoping to continue their impressive home record which has seen Mourinho’s side lose just four times in 44 games, however it was Arsenal who made the brighter start. The first twenty minutes were cagey, with Kolašinac causing the hosts early danger from the left hand side. He drilled in a cross which Chris Smalling made a meal of. The 29-year-old tried to clear his lines whilst off balance, however ended up scuffing the ball, luckily with it not falling to an Arsenal player.

Mourinho’s defence was stretched with Luke Shaw failing a late fitness test, a position where they have struggled this season. United have conceded 23 goals in their opening 14 Premier League games, and it was 24 after a horrific David de Gea mistake.

The Spaniard, usually one of the club’s top performers, inexplicably fumbled a simple header in to his own net. Shkodran Mustafi headed the ball in to the ground, with De Gea, heavily leaning backwards, attempting to catch the spinning ball. De Gea fumbled the ball behind him, and although it was cleared off the line, referee Andre Marriner awarded the goal after consulting his watch and goal line technology.

United’s only home league defeat this term was the 3-0 loss to Tottenham on 27 August, and the club tried to keep that statistic and responded immediately. Four minutes after conceding the ‘Red Devils’ were level through Anthony Martial. Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno did well to save a Marcos Rojo free kick, however he could only manage to push the ball in to the danger zone. Herrera gathered the loose ball and squared it to Martial, who rocketed the ball home from five yards out. No Arsenal players appealed, however replays show that Ander Herrera ,may have been marginally offside. A nice moment for Martial to score on his 23rd birthday.

Arsenal like a second-half goal. In fact, They have scored 24 second-half goals in the Premier League this season, more than any other side. Alexandre Lacazette put the hosts ahead again after a mistake from Marcos Rojo. Rojo, who was playing his first game since the World Cup, was dispossessed by Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The former United player did well to hit his former employers on the break, playing a smart one-two with the Frenchman. Mkhitaryan eventually threaded the ball to Lacazette, whose shot deflected off a luckless Marcos Rojo who had done brilliant to get back and recover.

Instead of licking their wounds, Manchester United responded brilliantly, scoring 32 seconds after the kick-off. Manchester United instantly went long to Lukaku, who managed to control the ball down to Jesse Lingard. The 25-year-old managed to turn and poke the ball past Bernd Leno for his first goal of the season lifting off the Old Trafford roof.

United’s equaliser led to an Arsenal onslaught, a win would give the ‘Gunners’ 16 away points - as many as they claimed in total on the road last season. De Gea had to be alert to acrobatically deny Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the Gabon international tried to curl one in from the edge of the penalty area.

There was nearly late drama, however De Gea redeemed himself for his earlier howler and did well to deny Aubameyang from the edge of the box. Mkhitaryan volleyed in the rebound, however it was ruled out for offside.

United managed to hang on and deny Arsenal a deserved victory. The ‘Gunners’ maintain their unbeaten record, avoiding defeat in their last 13 league games (W9, D4), and 20 matches in all competitions (W15, D5).

Elliot Turnbull

Elliot Turnbull

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