Arsenal welcomed Man United to the Emirates. Arsenal, coming off a 3-1 victory would look to build on their good run of form.
United on the other hand, had just faced a shock result, losing to Sheffield United, who sit 20th.
They have a very impressive away record, with 18 unbeaten on the spin – which they hope to keep intact.
Arsenal were sat 9th in the table coming in to the game, with United in 2nd. The result was important for different reasons for both fans.
Arsenal had come out victorious on the previous 2 meetings of the clubs, winning by a 3-0 goal margin over the 2 games.
Arsenal made one change from the victory midweek – youngster Martinelli coming in for the injured Saka. With Tierney still out along with Aubameyang, the key absentee of Saka will affect Arsenal’s chances in this game significantly.
Man United come into the game with a full squad to pick from, making 5 changes from midweek. Lindelof & Shaw came back in for Tuanzebe & Telles, with Cavani, Mctominay & Fred coming in.
The game started very slowly, with both teams playing cautious and lacking the final ball.
There were a few half chances in the first half, with a great strike from Fred equalled to by Leno, Bruno narrowly missing and Rashford getting the better of Cedric on occasions. Pepe also, whipping the ball past the post.
Mctominay had a stomach issue so was subbed off for Martial, where United sensed a vulnerability among Arsenal 10 minutes before the break.
Defensive work from Martinelli to help Cedric ;who got caught too central) was very important, as he prevented 2 great chances for Rashford to open the scoring, taking it from his foot.
United should’ve been ahead at the break, after the few chances.
The game was genuinely a stalemate; with a lot of sloppy passes and loss of ball possession, possession spells and United pressing Arsenal effectively.
One sub was made at half time for tactical purposes, with Willian coming on for Martinelli, to the surprise of many Arsenal fans.
This was most likely done for better ball retention, as Martinelli had lost the ball 6 times in that half.
Arsenal started the 2nd half far better than the 1st, pressing high and pinning the Red Devil’s in.
Willian was denied by a great block from Wan Bissaka, but arguably should’ve put in near post.
Shortly after, Pepe was also denied by a great block from Maguire, where the ball was destined to end in the net.
Smith Rowe had an effort saved by De Gea, as Arsenal looked very threatening.
Despite the constant domination from the gunners, it was still goalless and United had chances of their own on the counter.
A cross from Shaw left Cavani with the task of putting it into an empty net, but failed to do so. By far the best chance of the game and one United will surely rue.
Arsenal got a free kick on the edge of the box, which Lacazette went to take. With the keeper helpless, the bar came to United’s rescue, which was very fortunate for the visitors.
The chances continued for the gunners, as Pepe’s effort went agonisingly wide.
Ødegaard came on for his debut, with 10 minutes left, replacing Smith Rowe, while Greenwood came on for United.
With the game late on and looking to end goalless, the ball was floated in to Cavani. With the keeper static, Cavani’s acrobatic effort went narrowly past the post, missing the chance for a late winner and the chance to close the gap at the top.
A Lacazette head clash with Maguire led to him being subbed off in injury time, as the game ended all square.
An entertaining 0-0, which doesn’t do any major favours for either team’s aims for the rest of the season.
Man of the match:
The Ivorian has had a serious upturn in form in the last few games, and it’s great to see.
Having drawn the most fouls (4), most shots (4), and created the most chances (3) among the team, he was a clear contender for the award. A goal would’ve topped off a great display.
His defensive work rate was really important as well, to ensure Arsenal remained solid and compact.
He was a constant threat, and always drew his opponents in. Hopefully he can continue this form and become a key player for the gunners.
The Brazilian read the game emphatically well, contrary to some previous performances.
With David Luiz you never know what to expect, but today he intercepted well, made important blocks, and ultimately him and Holding (whom is unlucky not to be a candidate for the award) earned a well deserved clean sheet.
My MOTM has to be David Luiz. He was a rock against a very powerful United attack despite looking a liability early on.
Having many doubt him and his abilities, it is great to see him perform as we all know he’s capable of, and hopefully he can continue a good end to his gunners career; presuming he doesn’t extend.
Leno – 7
Bellerin – 6
Luiz – 8.5
Holding – 7.5
Cedric – 5.5
Xhaka – 7
Partey – 5
Martinelli – 6
Smith Rowe – 6.5
Pepe – 8
Lacazette – 6.5
Willian – 6.5
Ødegaard, Nketiah N/A
Arsenal did well to get a point, considering the absentees. The game could’ve gone either way, with some huge chances. But you feel Arsenal would’ve come out on top with a full fit squad.
A point isn’t too bad a result considering, and the clean sheet is reflective of the defensive performance, despite riding out luck at points.
I thought Willian made a positive impact but should’ve scored, Arteta brought on Ødegaard too late as well.
The result continues a 7 game unbeaten Premier League streak with 5 clean sheets and 2 draws – which is unheard of for an Arsenal team.
Arteta deserves a lot of credit for how things have changed so abruptly after many had begin to doubt.
What next for Arsenal?
Arsenal travel to Molineux, where they will face a struggling Wolves team, who can’t catch a break and could be facing a relegation battle.
Arsenal will look to continue their positive form, with a win at Wolves – something they managed last time, and will hope to have Saka and Tierney fit, with Ødegaard likely to feature.
You can find Wolves vs Arsenal on BT Sport, at 6pm next Tuesday, as the fixtures come thick and fast and Arsenal look to climb the table and get closer to the European places.
featured image credit sky sports