A late equaliser by Olivier Giroud settled the differences Arsenal battled to rescue a point against a resilient Manchester United side.
The first half lacked a bit of energy, but saw some decent chances by either side. The flashpoint moment of the first half was when Manchester United thought they should’ve won a penalty when Antonio Valencia was fouled near the area by Nacho Monreal, but the referee waved to play on. Should they have been given a penalty? Alexis Sanchez did get close to scoring with a header, but
The second half got going a bit, but was still slow as Jose Mourinhos side continued to dominate play.
Juan Mata opened the scoring with 68 minutes gone. Mourinhos side would’ve gone on to win, had they not conceded late on.
Giroud popped up with a minute to go before the 90 to put through a header, which came off a cross from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to end a less than pulsating match.
I can’t say that Arsenal “should’ve won” or “deserved to win” as they didn’t really make enough chances in order to win. So begrudgingly, I’d say that a draw is a fair enough result.
In a month when Arsenal have historically struggled, they have justified that yet again by dropping even more points. I accept points being dropped today this time round though as today was always going to be difficult. But with the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea, and Manchester City not too far from Arsenal, today’s result is difficult to accept. The reason why I find it easier to accept a draw is because Arsenal were 1-0 down, rather than being 1-0 up, then going on to concede a penalty.
The decision to bring Giroud on as a substitute worked, but I thought that he should’ve started ahead of Sanchez, or come on as substitute in the second half. Also, I was disappointed with the decision not to make a substitution until we conceded. I felt that a substitution should’ve been made earlier, to prevent Arsenal from going behind. My reasoning for Giroud starting, or coming on as a second-half substitute is that Sanchez has had recent injury troubles, and “likes” to overwork himself.
The positives to take from this match is that Petr Cech made some outstanding saves to prevent his side from conceding any more goals. Arsenal know that they’ll need to up their game up they are to staple on their push for the title.
Arsene Wenger has implied that his side were lucky to take a draw, as if had been another day, Arsenal would’ve probably lost.
The result means that Manchester United are still unbeaten against Arsenal at Old Trafford, and Wenger is yet to beat Mourinho.
Up next for Arsenal is a home tie in the Champions League against PSG. Both sides have already made it through to the next round, but to almost cement their chance to finish top, a win is vital. I would imagine that Carl Jenkinson would be dropped in favour of Gabriel, and I’d expect Sanchez to be dropped for Giroud.