By Ollie Cranham-Young
- Carrick and Young return to starting line-up
- United blown away by three goals in the opening 20 minutes
Venue: Emirates Stadium Attendance: 64,084
Manchester United suffered their second Premier League defeat of the season, as Arsenal blew them away with three goals in the opening 20 minutes. The win for Arsenal sees them move above United into second on goal difference.
United found themselves chasing the game from kick off after an Arsenal side looked determined to clinch the three points, and they were rewarded with two brilliant goals inside the opening 10 minutes. The first goal came after just six minutes, thanks to Alexis Sanchez following a great start by Arsenal.
United found the deficit increase less than 40 seconds later, with the credit this time going to Mesut Özil. After seven minutes, United already had a mountain to climb and were continually outplayed until just before the interval.
Just as the Reds were beginning to find their feet, Arsenal made it three with Walcott finding Sanchez on the edge of the box who, after beating a clutch of defenders, blasted the ball into the top corner of the net giving David De Gea no chance and leaving the rest of the team stunned.
The Gunners could have made it four when Aaron Ramsey volleyed wide of the back post, to the relief of goalkeeper David De Gea and the Manchester United fans. Towards the end of the half. Arsenal seemed to “slacken off” slightly, and reduce the pace.
Which meant that Anthony Martial had a perfect chance to score just before the break, after being gifted the ball within the six yard box; however a crucial save from former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech denied Martial of a chance to reduce Arsenal’s lead going into half-time.
Following the interval, Van Gaal made a double substitution replacing Darmian and Memphis with Valencia and Fellaini. These changes saw Rooney revert to the left as Fellaini slotted in behind Martial. Young almost provided an immediate response when he fired at Petr Cech’s goal, however Cech was quick to react as he leapt to his right to clinch the ball.
Not long after, he was called into action again when Wayne Rooney had a sublime shot, only for Cech to tip it over the crossbar. Bastian Schweinsteiger than had a glittering chance to claim a goal back for the Reds, as he received the ball inside the box and all he had to do was knock it into the bottom corner. However, Cech’s brave, yet heroic block denied the Reds yet again from getting onto the scoresheet.
Arsenal seemed to attack less in the second half, and United appeared to be more organised and that was proven when United stopped Arsenal from advancing into the box and down the flanks, like they had been doing for the majority of the second half.
Arsenal still had their chances, with Mesut Özil being denied by a fantastic David De Gea save, who, despite conceding three goals (largely due to the defence), was showing his worth and commitment to the side.
Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was denied a place on the scoresheet after he clipped the crossbar deep into injury time. Arsenal had not taken their chances in the second half, but that didn’t matter after their emphatic first half performance. Proving they are a force to be reckoned with and that they can be considered title contenders after their disappointing midweek loss in the Champions League.
United will be looking to bounce back after today’s devastating defeat as quickly as possible, with the first chance coming after the international break away to Everton. Who were held to a 1-1 draw in the Merseyside Derby today.
Manchester United: De Gea, Darmian (Valencia 46), Smalling, Blind, Young, Carrick, Schweinsteiger, Mata (Wilson 82), Rooney, Memphis (Fellaini 46), Martial Substitutes Not Used: Romero, Jones, McNair, Schneiderlin