Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United: Critical questions to draw from the game

      

Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United: Critical questions to draw from the game

Picture: Светлана Бекетова, cc by-sa 3.0

Arsenal lost 3-1 to rivals Manchester United at the Emirates courtesy of a brace by Jesse Lingard and a goal by Antonio Valencia.

To say the result reflected what happened on the pitch would be a half-truth. Arsenal surprisingly dominated possession (71% to 29%), for most of the game, but still lost by two goals.

The classic clash raised a number of interesting questions. Here they are:

Where was Lukaku?

The Belgian talent made his first, and among the last, declaration of presence on the pitch when his side took the lead early in the game. Arsenal lost the ball in the middle, and Lukaku showed flair and good decision making to link-up with Martial to set up the first goal.

Apart from this, the former Everton forward was close to invisible. It was the likes of Martial, Pogba and Lingard that led the counter-attacks mostly.

It calls for worry as the center forward looks set to start again in the Manchester derby, but Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are insistently knocking on the door.

Welbeck penalty dilemma

The English forward came off the bench to add more sharpness in transition for Arsenal, but goals eluded him this time around.

However, he caused a bit of chaos to United's defence. This pressure on the Red Devils' back-four eventually led to contact between Mateo Darmian and Welbeck.

There was clearly contact, but referee Andre Mariner remained silent, perhaps encouraged about the rightness of his decision by Welbeck actually standing straight up after the clash - something for which he was later criticised by former teammate Rio Ferdinand.

While it was true and it was too close to call, Welbeck did apply any pressure to Mariner to help his team a bit.

Was Pogba arrogant?

Pogba engineered another Arsenal defeat despite being sent off near the end of the match. When the pressure increased on United, Pogba upped his efforts in trying to get the ball back in midfield. This led to Pogba stamping on Hector Bellerin's leg with video replays showing clear intent by the Frenchman.

So why did he then clap sarcastically at Mariner's decision to show him red on his way out of the pitch? Perhaps this is revealing of  an arrogant stance he took about the situation? One thing is certain - he will miss the Manchester derby because of it.

 

 

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Premier League 2017/18

# Team P GD Pts
1 Manchester City FC 38 79 100
2 Manchester United FC 38 40 81
3 Tottenham Hotspur FC 38 38 77
4 Liverpool FC 38 46 75
5 Chelsea FC 38 24 70
6 Arsenal FC 38 23 63
7 Burnley FC 38 -3 54
8 Everton FC 38 -14 49
9 Leicester City FC 38 -4 47
10 Newcastle United FC 38 -8 44
11 Crystal Palace FC 38 -10 44
12 AFC Bournemouth 38 -16 44
13 West Ham United FC 38 -20 42
14 Watford FC 38 -20 41
15 Brighton & Hove Albion 38 -20 40
16 Huddersfield Town 38 -30 37
17 Southampton FC 38 -19 36
18 Swansea City FC 38 -28 33
19 Stoke City FC 38 -33 33
20 West Bromwich Albion FC 38 -25 31