We round up the top talking points from Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Arsenal in a scintillating game at the Emirates Stadium.
Antonio Valencia and Jesse Lingard gave Manchester United a two-goal lead after just 11 minutes, with Alexandre Lacazette pulling one back for Arsenal early in the second half before Lingard struck his second.
David de Gea made a string of outstanding saves for United, who also had Paul Pogba sent off for a studs-up tackle on Hector Bellerin, as Arsenal failed to make their dominance count. Here, we pick out five talking points from the game.
Lingard justifies selection
Lingard justified his selection ahead of Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford in emphatic style. The 24-year-old took his first goal brilliantly, clipping a cool finish over Petr Cech from Anthony Martial’s flick, and he was in the right place at the right time for his second. He has now scored the same number of goals in two Premier League games as he managed in the previous 51.
Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd
Lingard’s pace and movement were devastating on the break and he also set the tone for United’s pressing, harrying Arsenal’s defenders relentlessly and provoking the mistake for the second goal. At the time of his substitution, he had covered more ground (10.3km) and made more sprints (71) than any other player on the pitch. His industry was invaluable.
Errors cost Arsenal
Arsenal were made to pay for glaring defensive errors in the build-up to both of United’s early goals. Laurent Koscielny’s pass fell short of Sead Kolasinac for the first, and Shkodran Mustafi’s dithering allowed Lingard to steal possession for the second. With just 11 minutes on the clock at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal already had a mountain to climb.
Defensive lapses have been a theme of their season. Arsenal have made 11 individual errors leading to opposition shots this season, the joint-most in the Premier League, and five leading directly to goals. Only relegation-threatened Crystal Palace have a worse record. It’s an area in urgent need of attention if they are to maintain their challenge for a top-four place.
Pogba will be missed
The only blot on the evening for United was the red card which will leave them without Pogba for three games – including next weekend’s Manchester derby with City at Old Trafford. The Frenchman’s performance up until that moment underlined just how big a miss he will be.
Pogba played a huge role in the victory, setting up Valencia’s opener and outmuscling Koscielny before providing his second assist of the night for United’s third. It was a continuation of his excellent form since returning from injury last month. United have won all four of their Premier League games since then, with Pogba contributing a goal and three assists. Without him against City, their task becomes far tougher.
Mourinho answers critics
Jose Mourinho has been criticised for setting his team up defensively in big games this season, but United were straight on the front foot at the Emirates Stadium. The early goals rewarded their aggressive pressing tactics, and they continued counter-attack at every opportunity after that.
Only City have scored more goals than United (35) in the Premier League this season, and this was the 10th time in just 23 games in all competitions that they have scored three or more goals. For all the negativity around Mourinho’s tactics this season, it is worth remembering they have provided plenty of entertainment too.
Man Utd vs Man City
December 10, 2017, 4:15pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass The brilliance of De Gea
The outcome would have been very different, however, if not for the heroics of De Gea in the Manchester United goal. The Spaniard produced an extraordinary total of 14 saves over the course of the 90 minutes, the joint-most by any goalkeeper in any Premier League game since Opta started collecting records in the 2003/04 season.
Lacazette, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil, Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi were among the Arsenal players spectacularly denied by De Gea, who repeatedly came to his side’s rescue just as it seemed the net was about to bulge. The 27-year-old has been a key figure for United for over half a decade now, but this was surely his most inspirational performance yet.