Arsenal finally ended their run of five years without an away win against a ‘big six’ rival, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second-half penalty saw the Gunners edge past Manchester United in what was a fairly uneventful 90 minutes of football.
Manchester United stuck with their midfield diamond that worked so well against RB Leipzig in midweek, yet it was the Gunners who dominated proceedings in the first half with Thomas Partey in complete control in the centre of the park
The visitors had a few half chances, with Hector Bellerin fizzing a delightful ball across the box which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang couldn’t quite get on the end of, while summer signing Willian saw a delightful curling effort clip the crossbar. In truth, neither ‘keeper was really tested, with the only real foray forward from the home side seeing Mason Greenwood drill at an effort straight at the feet of Bernd Leno from an acute angle.
United came out after half-time with some renewed vigour, yet still failed to truly trouble the opposition ‘keeper with Arsenal looking solid defensively. The game’s critical moment came on 68 minutes when Paul Pogba needlessly tripped Hector Bellerin in the box, with Aubameyang duly slotting home the spot-kick to end his goal drought.
The final exchanges saw United on the attack but once again there were very few efforts to shout about, with a deflected Donny Van de Beek cross the closest the home side came to a goal, the Dutchman’s pull-back deflecting off Leno and onto the post as Arsenal hung on for a deserved win at Old Trafford.
Let’s take a look then at how the player’s rated…
De Gea 6
Held a stinging Thomas Partey effort well and had little to do in truth. No chance with the match winning penalty.
Was pinned back in the first-half by the rampaging Saka and couldn’t quite deliver a telling ball in the second. Still question marks over his attacking play, although wasn’t helped by a narrow United set-up.
Looks a much improved player from the start of the season and was solid throughout. Perhaps should’ve done better with a header in the second-half.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 1, 2020
Marshalled the likes of Aubameyang and Lacazette relatively well and made some vital touches in the first half, yet too slow to release the ball when United needed a goal at the death.
One of United’s better players. Shaw put in some decent deliveries and provided some much needed width with Pogba deployed as narrow left-midfielder.
Booked early on and struggled to offer the same zip as in midweek. Still gives the ball away too often.
The Scotland international started on the right-hand side of United’s diamond yet had little impact and was out fought by Thomas Partey in midfield. Should have made way for an attacking option,
Ok in general, but his foolish foul on Bellerin in the area ultimately cost his side the game. To be fair to the Frenchman he refreshingly took responsibility for his mistake post game.
3 – Paul Pogba has conceded three penalties in the Premier League under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while no other Manchester United player has conceded more than one. Discipline. pic.twitter.com/ZXL2OrWAxp
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 1, 2020
Offered little in an attacking sense and gave the ball away far too often. A very, very quiet afternoon for the Portugal international.
After his midweek hat-trick heroics much was expected of the recently turned 23-year-old, yet was offered little service and struggled to create any real opportunities for himself or his teammates.
“Ole will lose his job working with these players – that’s what is going to happen.” 😳
Roy Keane gives a brutally honest assessment of #MUFC‘s current squad after another defeat at Old Trafford.
🚨 This is a 𝙈𝙐𝙎𝙏 watch! 🚨 pic.twitter.com/4pOYe0yUHh
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 1, 2020
Again, like his strike partner, fed off scraps for much of the game in what was a big opportunity for the youngster in the absence of Martial. Didn’t quite take his chance.
Was a strange substitution to begin with, coming on for Fred despite United crying out for an attacking change. Did carry the ball forward well at times as the home side pushed for an equaliser.
Unable to affect the game during his brief cameo and like many of the other attacking players seemed to have no set position near the end.
Van De Beek – 6
Always offers something when he does play and almost created a goal with his deflected cross striking the post.
A very comfortable afternoon for the German, but to his credit claimed the ball well when called upon late on as Arsenal sought to hang on.
A solid performance by the former Celtic man, crunched into tackles in his usual ferocious manner, although almost allowed United in with a misjudged header in the second -half.
Gabriel 9 (MOTM)
Just about edged out Thomas Partey as the player of the match, the Brazilian’s speed and reading of the game was mightily impressive. Didn’t give Rashford a sniff.
Gabriel Magalhães vs Man United
92% pass accuracy
5 tackles won
1 blocked shot
1 aerial won
Excellent performance by the 22-year-old against the likes of Rashford, Greenwood, Pogba and Cavani. Solid as a rock. pic.twitter.com/vfqLmKVXVr
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) November 1, 2020
On his return from injury, the Englishman looked very assured, defended and distributed the ball well.
Despite some shaky moments was a surging presence down the right, almost teeing up Aubameyang in the first-half, before winning the crucial penalty in the second.
His Arsenal career seemed well and truly over a year ago but this impressive performance was another indication of his importance to Mikel Arteta’s set up.
Against United’s four man midfield the former Atletico Madrid man was simply dominant, combining a calmness on the ball with a battling presence off it. The man Arsenal fans had been crying out for for years.
Thomas Partey for Arsenal vs. Man Utd:
⬢ Most touches
⬢ Most duels won
⬢ Most ball recoveries
⬢ Most take-ons completed
⬡ 2nd-most tackles made
A midfield masterclass. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/AphLIwztxm
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 1, 2020
A quieter evening than some of his teammates, although did peg back Aaron Wan-Bisakka well and almost found the net with a header in the first period.
Should have scored with a curling effort at the start of the second-half, yet ended his goal drought with a cooly taken penalty to give Arsenal a much-needed win.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 1, 2020
While his striker partner will get the glory, the Frenchman was once again the man doing the hard running and the dirty work and occupied the United defence well.
Willian – 7
Week after week the signing of the Brazilian is looking more and more of an astute purchase and even though he wasn’t quite at his best, the former Chelsea man still offered a threat down the right. He also saw a delightful curling effort just nick off the crossbar.
Came on with Arsenal camped deep in their own half yet applied the pressure well on the United backline despite having little of the ball.