Well that was fun.
It was a rather curious Arsenal team that took to the field against Manchester United. The lack of a de-facto “creator,” and return to a back-three puzzled me slightly, along with Mohamed Elneny‘s name on the team sheet, but the first half went pretty swimmingly.
Arsenal had the better chances, and looked better on the ball. Our balance between the left and right flanks looked much improved, as we looked to threaten from both sides, using the width of our wing-backs to expose the narrow United diamond.
There were a couple of nervy moments, as Bruno Fernandes picked up pockets of space between our central midfielders, but on the whole, Arsenal remained resolute and tenacious. We just couldn’t make the most of our chances, an ongoing problem.
The second half was far more even. Both sides looked threatening, although generally, Arsenal held United to chances outside the box, one dangerous Harry Maguire header aside. Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny were twin pillars in the midfield, and Hector Bellerin‘s movement down the right was a constant stressor for the United backline.
Let’s get into the Player Ratings from the hard-fought, well-deserved win, our first against the Big Six since 2015.