Both sides began the game with a lively rhythm and a good pace. Marcus Rashford took a shot within the first minute of the match, but it was easily saved by goalie Bernd Leno. Then Nicolas Pepe scored for Arsenal when the ball was crossed into the box for him by Sead Kolasinac, and he placed the ball past David De Gea. Arsenal were now gaining in confidence and continued to attack United.
United struggled to get any rhythm to their game because their passing and movement on and of the ball was too slow. We were sloppy with our passing without enough energy. Alexander Lacazette got into the box and turned and spun around Harry Maguire, but his shot missed the target.
Then shortly after that Lucas Torreira had a shot that missed the right post. Arsenal almost scored again after a mistake by De Gea when his poor clearance went to an Arsenal player who then passed the ball to Pepe whose shot outside the box curled low to De Gea’s right, but the ball crashed off the post.
Then Arsenal got the second through a corner. The ball came into the box and the defense didn’t properly defend it. De Gea parried the ball, but it came off Victor Lindelof’s back and it deflected perfectly into the path of Sokratis Papastathopoulos to strike it into the roof of the net. Then shortly after that the referee blew the whistle for half-time.
In the second-half, the Reds tried to get themselves back into the game. We showed a little more urgency whenever we advanced with the ball. In the 55th minute, Fred’s drive from outside the box went straight into the hands of Leno, which was United’s first shot of the half. Nemanja Matic was able to thread a through pass into the box for Andreas Pereira, however his drive smashed into the side netting. The Brazilian replaced Jesse Lingard in the 58th minute. Mason Greenwood also came on for Daniel James.
Another chance fell to United through Marcus Rashford as he quickly took a shot, but he blazed it over the bar instead, after a neat passing sequence by his teammates. We placed more pressure on Arsenal as they began to lose possession of the ball more. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang passed the ball to Lacazette, but he put it over the bar.
United were lacking ideas as they tried to break down the Gunners. We were too predictable in our passing even though we had more possession of the ball. Our sense or urgency wasn’t there. Besides the players learning to motivate themselves to win the games, Ole needs to find a way to motivate his team as well. If we had won this league game the Reds would have been just two points behind fourth placed Chelsea.
We didn’t have the energy or guile to break Arsenal down and we never really looked like getting a goal. In the closing seconds of the match United had a direct free-kick that was taken by Fred, but he smashed the ball way over the bar, and the referee blew the whistle to end the match. That just summed up our overall play for the whole game.