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Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal: Five Things We Learned

Manchester United’s winless run at Old Trafford in the Premier League continued on Sunday evening as they lost 1-0 to Arsenal.

The Red Devils put in another poor showing on home soil with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second-half penalty proving enough for the Gunners.

Here are five things we learned from the match:

The Theatre of Nightmares

With this result comes another Premier League match without a win for Manchester United at Old Trafford, a run that is now up to six matches. That form is even worse considering that they have lost three of those.

If the Red Devils are to challenge for the top four once again this season then their home form will be key. That does not look like happening though considering that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men cannot seem to buy a home win, which is damning considering Old Trafford was previously an extremely daunting away trip. If this run continues then United will certainly be some way off the pace this season and they now sit at odds as wide as 5/2 with Betfair to earn a top four place this season.

Penalty problems

One of the main reasons that the Red Devils have been so poor at home is their lack of discipline in the penalty area. In their last seven games on home soil, United have conceded five penalties including another one against Arsenal, more than they have had awarded against them in their last 101 games combined in the competition.

This time it was a rash challenge from Paul Pogba on Hector Bellerin that saw referee Mike Dean point to the spot which on reflection was the correct call. Despite the money spent on the team’s defence in the last few seasons, those decisions still suggest some defensive naivety in Manchester United’s backline.

Blunt attack for Solskjaer

The defence was not just the main culprit for Arsenal’s win in Manchester though, United’s attack really was not at the races either. Having started Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford up top as a pairing, the two struggled to really create any real opportunities. Even substitute Edinson Cavani, who was introduced mid-way through the second-half, failed to have much of an impact.

Throughout the whole 90 minutes, United only actually had two shots on target, the same amount as Arsenal had. Considering the players at his disposal, the lack of any threat at all will leave Solskjaer bitterly disappointed.

Corner turned for Arsenal?

Coming into this clash, the Gunners had lost three out of their previous four matches in the Premier League, making the game at Old Trafford crucial in context of their season. After all, a defeat to the Red Devils would have left Mikel Arteta’s men languishing in 14th place.

However, with their first win at Old Trafford in the Premier League in over 14 years, they now rise to eighth and just one point behind second-placed Everton. Should they follow up their latest win with another, it could really be a turning point for the Gunners.

Defensive solidarity

One of the huge reasons behind that turn-around has been the Gunners’ impressive defensive record in the league this season. The North-Londoners have only conceded seven goals in the Premier League, fewer than any other side.

One of the main catalysts behind that has been central defender Gabriel. The Brazilian put in another imperious performance at Old Trafford, marshalling the Manchester United attack extremely well. Should he continue that high level of performance then that will be a huge boost to the Gunners.

Match Report

Manchester United: De Gea (6); Shaw (6), Maguire (6), Lindelof (5), Wan-Bissaka (6); Fred (5) (Matic (6), 62′), McTominay (6), Pogba (5); Fernandes (5) (van de Beek (5), 75′), Greenwood (5) (Cavani (6), 75′), Rashford (5).

Arsenal: Leno (7); Tierney (7), Gabriel (8), Holding (7), Bellerin (7); Partey (7), Elneny (6), Saka (6); Willian (6) (Maitland-Niles (N/A), 86′), Lacazette (6) (Nketiah (N/A), 76′), Aubameyang (7) (Mustafi (N/A), 87′).

Goals: Aubameyang (69′ PEN)

Referee: Mike Dean

Yellow Cards: Fred (22′), Holding (25′), Gabriel (27′),  Greenwood (71′), Aubameyang (87′), Maguire (90+4′)

Red Cards: N/A

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