Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal: Four Things We Learned

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Manchester United managed to get a win in the dying minutes of their match against Arsenal, beating Arsene Wenger’s side in his final match as Gunners’ manager visiting Old Trafford, through goals of Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini. It was Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goal against his former club that was sandwiched in between the goals of the two United midfielders.

Manchester United Will Finish Second In Premier League

With this win and Liverpool’s 0-0 draw against Stoke City on Saturday, it is becoming obvious Manchester United will finish in second. The Devils have a five-point lead over Liverpool, with the Merseyside still to play twice and United thrice. This means United would have to lose all of their remaining matches and Jurgen Klopp’s side would have to win against both Chelsea and Brighton.

It looks quite far-fetched and Man United are about to reach the goal Jose Mourinho set once it was obvious Man City were too good for every Premier League side. With the second place all but secured, Man United should be shifting their focus on FA Cup final against Chelsea on 19 May.

Devils Still Lack Tempo During Build-Up

This has been obvious during the whole season and it happened once again on Sunday. It was a weak Arsenal side, resting several players for their Europa League semifinal second leg match against Atletico Madrid. Calum Chambers and Konstantinos Mavropanos played as a centre-back pairing, Ainsley Maitland-Niles was alongside Granit Xhaka in central midfield, while Alex Iwobi and Reiss Nelson played further ahead.

And yet United lack tempo, rhythm and speed to break through the lines. Often was obvious that the Devils lacked width up front, as both Alexis Sanchez on the left and Jesse Lingard on the right found it natural for themselves to cut in. Add Paul Pogba to the equation and three players were running towards central areas often occupied by Romelu Lukaku or just behind him. All of that made it hard for Man United to be truly creative and that is something they have failed to be consistent with over a whole season.

Arsene Wenger Loses To A ‘Fergie Time’ Goal

It felt quite fitting that Arsenal lost in stoppage time in Wenger’s final match against United. Fellaini’s goal marked Arsenal’s recent era under the Frenchman, as Gunners would too often lose naively, getting so close but then failing again. It marked the way Arsenal have descended ever since 2006 and the Champions League final they lost to Barcelona.

Nemanja Matic Proves His Quality

He was often questioned, but he keeps showing why he is important for United. On the day when not many things have worked properly in Jose Mourinho’s team, Nemanja Matic was a player that did everything right. He was the one with the most touches of all players on the pitch, controlling the match from deep central areas.

The Serbian was spraying the balls around, both left and right, but forwards as well. He completed staggering 97 passes, while also changing sides of play with his impeccable long balls. It was a performance that showed why Mourinho wanted former Chelsea player, but also how much Matic enjoys playing alongside another more defensive midfielder that Ander Herrera is.

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