Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s fantastic run as interim manager at the helm of Manchester United continues as the Norwegian recorded his eighth consecutive victory since taking charge in December following the sacking of Jose Mourinho. Following an impressive victory at Wembley against Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side, Solskjaer’s men enjoyed an assuring 3-1 victory at the Emirates to end Arsenal’s hopes of a run in the FA Cup.
Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial were on target for United in what was a superb display from the visitors. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang salvaged a goal for the hosts, but United’s defence held firm to secure another memorable victory under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Arsenal: Cech, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Koscielny (C), Kolasinac, Torreira, Iwobi, Xhaka, Ramsey, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Manchester United: Romero, Shaw, Lindelof, Bailly, Young (C), Pogba, Matic, Lingard, Sanchez, Lukaku.
In a frantic first 20 minutes, the hosts were dominant in fairness, and the way that Arsenal were constantly bombarding the Manchester United defence, it was hard to see quite how the visitors were going to find a way into the match. On 11 minutes, the visitors had their first real opportunity as Paul Pogba latched onto Alexis Sanchez’s lovely through ball, but Petr Cech stood tall to deny the Frenchman.
But despite Arsenal’s possession and quick passing Unai Emery’s side struggled to create any real clear chances to open the scoring. On 31 minutes, Romelu Lukaku slid the ball into the path of former Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez, who was cool under pressure to round Petr Cech and chip the ball into the back of the net to gift the visitors the lead.
Following Sanchez’s strike, Arsenal were all-at-sea defensively, and they were once again expolited by another Manchester United counter-attack as Lukaku once again found space down the right-hand side as the Belgian picked out Jesse Lingard who slotted the ball past a helpless Petr Cech to double United’s advantage in a frantic two-minute spell. Just prior to half-time, Arsenal were handed a lifeline as Alexandre Lacazette fired in a low pass across the Manchester United box as he found Piere-Emerick Aubameyang who was on hand to stroke the ball past Sergio Romero.
With the hosts being handed a lifeline right on the stroke of half-time, the complexity of the game had completely changed in Arsenal’s favour, and just minutes into the second half, Sergio Romero was called into action as the Argentinian was on hand to deny Aaron Ramsey with a stunning save. On 57 minutes, Arsenal’s defensive woes took a turn for the worse as Laurent ,Koscielny suffered a concerning injury, the Frenchman was replaced by Matteo Guendouzi.
On 72 minutes, Manchester United made a double substitution as Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku made way for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. Arsenal very nearly found an equaliser in the 73rd minute as Lacazetter unleashed a powerful effort on goal, but Romero was equal to the effort with another impressive stop. A the last ten minutes emerged, the visitors found the net for the third time as Paul Pogba’s spilled effort fell right into the path of Anthony Martial who tucked the ball past Petr Cech to all but secure a memorable win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Arsenal did press for a late surge with ten minutes of additional time added due to the injury of Laurent Koscielny and a scuffle between both sets of players, but Manchester United’s defence held on firmly to secure a fantastic win. For me, Jesse Lingard was superb throughout the entirety of the match, he worked tirelessly for 100 minutes, and he took his goal expertly.
Following the final whistle, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was obviously ecstatic with his team’s performance and the result: “We’d worked hard at defending and counter-attacking. Counter-attacking is classic Manchester United – Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ji Sung-park – we’ve scored so many at Arsenal over the years.”
“Today was a big step forward. It was a massive improvement from the Tottenham game. It’s easy to get excited and talk about the future but we need to just keep working and think about the next game. We had to dig deep.”
“I’ve had a headache since I came because the squad is full of good players. It’s up to us to pick the right tactics and players. We need to rest a few as there’s big games coming up. But we have fresh legs.”