This used to be THE marquee fixture in the premier league 20 years ago. The retirements of their respective long serving coaches have seen both lose their identity and as a result they have failed to win the title since. United in particular are at a cross roads with one road leading to mid table mediocrity, the other, we can call it Rangnick Lane, which hopefully sees an improvement in performances(not just results). The German not in the dug out so Carrick manages his last United game. He started with a reinstated Christiano Ronaldo in attack with the returning Captain Maguire. The formation changed from the defensive one at Stamford Bridge to a 4-2-3-1. Fred was given rave reviews for his performance at Chelsea but he stank up Old Trafford in the first half, well sort of. You see he had a hand in the Fernandes equalizer(another player who has not been his best). At the same he was being overpowered by the impressive Partey in midfield, couldn’t hold on to possession to save his skin. The Arsenal goal by Smith Rowe, although a genuine goal, was unsporting to say the least. Now if I was Arteta I would be mad as hell at Smith Rowe for shooting whilst De Gea was down injured. That is not the Arsenal way, Arsene Wenger would definitely not have approved as well as Fergie. Where is Di Canio when you need him?
Anyway the match took an interesting turn in the second half when United used the width provide by Rashford and Sancho to great effect. First, Rashford found acres of space behind Tavares to square for Ronaldo to make it 2-1. Almost straight away Arsenal equalized. That man again Partey the center of the move, Martinelli was found free on the right flank free as a bird(Alex Telles what the hell) who squared to to Odegaard. On the balance of place Arsenal were the better side in this match, they had the players better on the ball able to dictate play like Elmeny, Odegaard and aforementioned Partey. The draw would have been fair on both sides but Odegaard’s villain turn by committing the penalty foul turned the game decisively. Ronaldo scoring goal number 800 and 801 of his illustrious career here. He has been polarizing so far this season but at least he comes out BIG in the big games. For Arsenal it should be more of the same in the coming games, but not the ridiculous gamesmanship behavior for the first goal.
|4||West Ham United||14||7||3||4||25||17||8||24|
|9||Brighton and Hove Albion||14||4||7||3||13||15||-2||19|