Manchester United are still looking for their first win at Old Trafford in the Premier League as they host a stubborn Arsenal side. Remarkably, they still couldn’t get one, going down to a frustrating 0-1 loss. The first-half produced perhaps the cagiest soccer in the PL this season, with both sides effectively cancelling each other out and lacking that special spark to open up the game.
United came all guns blazing in the second half, but were unable to create anything definitive before an awful challenge from Paul Pogba handed Arsenal a penalty in the 69th minute – one which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted duly to give the visitors the lead. Arsenal remained strong and United clueless in the final third, ensuring that the Gunners got their first win at Old Trafford after 2006!
The Red Devils with another frustrating, polarizing performance and seem to have forgotten how to dominate at home. One step forward, two-step backs for them.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (5.0) –
Solskjaer sticks with the 4-4-2 diamond formation, which worked exceptionally well against RB Leipzig. Understandable changes to bring in Bruno and Rashford too. After a tasteless first-half performance, his half-time team talk seemed to work well as United came charging out the front in the second half.
But his decision to clamp everything in midfield ultimately backfired, as United lacked any creativity and basically played into Arsenal’s hands because of their midfield strength and defensive numbers. His subs didn’t work today either and OGS needs to start making stern decisions now. After performances like that, showing favouritism towards the likes of Pogba could spell the beginning of his end.
David de Gea (5.5) –
De Gea was tested well by Partey’s powerful attempt around the hour-mark, but made a good save. Not able to do anything about the penalty, but that wasn’t on him at all. Will be disappointed to concede and lose a game like that.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (5.0)-
Wan-Bissaka is up for the battle on his side against fellow countryman Bukayo Saka and made a great tackle on him early on to make his intentions clear. He didn’t let much through his side, but was again poor going forward. Had some great chances to send in quality crosses, but just lacked that special something. Very frustrating showing from him.
Harry Maguire (7.0) –
Maguire’s taking well to Arsenal’s crossing-based style and made some brilliant timely headed clearances. Got a goal-scoring chance for himself in the 55th, but his looping header from the far corner went just wide of the post. But defensively he was faultless, dominating aerially and making key interceptions to win back possession numerous times.
Victor Lindelof (7.0) –
The Swedish defender needs to keep an eye on the menacing Aubameyang today. Made two especially brilliant last-ditch challenges in the first-half to thwart big goal-scoring chances for the visitors. Like Maguire, he was also near flawless defensively and made some amazing interventions to stop Arsenal. Getting back to his best slowly after his poor start to the game.
Luke Shaw (6.5) –
Shaw is keeping things really tidy in his side, making some clever interceptions to try and orchestrate counter-attacks in the first-half. Sent in a brilliant cross in the 55th for Maguire’s chance. Defensively really solid again, making clean challenges to dispossess everyone on the left. Created a few chances but still he’s lacking that killer instinct to get among the goals going forward.
Fred (5.5) –
The star midfielder for United in recent games has started this one with aplomb, making some clever interceptions early on. But Fred lost his fire after the first half-hour, not being able to make too many key interceptions. His passing game was really off, as he struggled to start counter-attacks and misplaced so many simple passes. Subbed after the hour-mark after being on a yellow.
Scott McTominay (6.0) –
McTominay’s been allowed to roam as the ‘mad dog’ today and is among the only ones to annoy Arsenal’s players with his relentless pressing. Still a bit stale going forward, wasting a few chances in the first half. He fought really hard to hold his own in midfield and despite being strong defensively, lacked anything in attack.
Paul Pogba (4.0) –
Pogba’s operating in that makeshift left-wing role again today. Didn’t look comfortable at all in the dull first half. Seemed more energetic in the second period, but used his momentum very wrongly with an extremely unnecessary tackle on Bellerin to bring him down for the penalty. Tried to redeem his error but fluffed his lines constantly in the final third. After that strong performance against Leipzig, Pogba undoes all his good work with this trainwreck.
Bruno Fernandes (4.5) –
Bruno is being kept in close check by the Arsenal midfielders and not finding any margin to trouble the visitors. Very bland in the first half, with of his ambitious passes ending up in nothing. Never got going in the second one either, with one shot going wide. Poor performance.
Mason Greenwood (6.0) –
Greenwood’s finding things difficult on his side due to tight marking and barely able to find space to threaten with. Gets some space in the 21st, but his shot from a tight angle was saved well. Then got a chance to run free into the box in the 49th, but his indecisiveness cost what could’ve been a big scoring chance.
Didn’t really get enough freedom in the final third today and his inexperienced showed on a couple of occasions.
Marcus Rashford (5.5) –
He scored a hat-trick at Old Trafford in mid-week. Can he light up the Theatre of Dreams again? Not at all. Makes a really nice through ball to create Greenwood’s chance in the 21st. Struggled in the #9 role today and wasn’t helped by the complete lack of service or strict marking from the Arsenal defenders.
Nemanja Matic (6.5) –
Matic was brought to add some more steel in midfield but his responsibilities shifted to try and get goals late on. To his credit, he made some impressive forwards runs into the box and one shot on target late on. A pretty decent substitute showing.
Edinson Cavani (5.0) –
The United #7 couldn’t really do much after coming on with little left, but did not do his reputation any justice with a disappointing showing. Couldn’t get anything on goal, his link-up play was frustrating and looked all over the place in attack.
Donny van de Beek (6.5) –
Did more in the last 15 odds minutes than Pogba & Bruno did for the entire game. His clever passing and movement caused trouble to an extremely deep Arsenal line and he almost forced a goal around the 80th minute when his cross hit Elneny and Leno before hitting the bar! Should be starting more games – at least ahead of Pogba in this form.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Lindelof pipped out Maguire to United’s best defender today but no clean-sheet means no MOTM for him today. That goes to Thomas Partey, who dominated midfield and proved won every battle in midfield.