Juan Mata scored the opener for Manchester United in the 68th minute but Olivier Giroud’s 89th minute header snatched a point for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal as the Gunners drew with the Red Devils 1-1 at Old Tafford on Saturday.
The intense rivalry Mourinho and Wenger has been quite overwhelming in the past as they have exchanged comments both on and off the pitch in recent years. Wenger had the opportunity to break the jinx against Mourinho this time around, but the Gunners had to settle with a draw, and all thanks to Oliver Giroud, as Manchester United were clearly the better side on the pitch today.
Manchester United were almost set for all the three points as Arsenal failed to fire a shot on target before Giroud’s 89th minute equaliser.
Arsenal looked to dominate possession in the first ten minutes of the game as Manchester United looked to sit deeper and wait for chances. However the game drastically turned in United’s favour as Valencia and Rashford dominated the flanks with Pogba, Mata and Herrera operating from the middle.
From the half an hour mark, United were clearly the better team as they worked more men forward with intent to score an early goal. The Red Devils worked the ball all over the pitch and threatened the Gunners defence down the flanks on numerous occasions.
Man United looked in good shape and were successful to open up spaces in the final third but they lacked the finishing on the final ball.
Mourinho’s side were denied a controversial penalty after Monreal clumsily hacked Valencia down to the ground in the 33rd minute. Valencia received the ball in the area and tactfully went past Monreal but the Spaniard brought him down to the floor. However, it didn’t look that there was too much contact and the referee dismissed the penalty appeal. United players looked dejected with Murinho furious down the touchline.
Manchester United maintained the pressure on the opposition defence and almost opened the scoring in the 35th minute but they were denied by a brilliant save from Petr Cech.
Out-of-favour United striker Martial and Spanish playmaker Mata linked up brilliantly with a couple of inch perfect passes before Mata launched a low strike towards the bottom right corner, but Cech managed to throw himself down and turn the well-timed effort round the post.
Arsenal looked completely out of shape during the last quarter of the first half – a lot of miss passes and they allowed too much space down the middle and struggled to match the pace of Valencia and Rashfrod down the flanks.
Martial had a golden opportunity to put Manchester United forward in the 39th minute but Petr Cech pulled up another save to deny the Red Devils an early goal. Martial fired a lofted strike in the the top right corner but the towering Arsenal keeper stretched out his hand to turn the ball over the crossbar.
It was almost a similar story in the second half. With the home fans chanting the name of Jose Mourinho, United looked more confident in their attack. Pogba proved his critics wrong and looked brilliant in his swift turns down the middle and supremely acted as the liaison between the United attack and defence.
United maintained their domination down the wings through Rashford and Valencia with Mata, Herrerra and Pogba repeatedly opening up space through the middle.
Arsenal cleary lacked the confidence while going forward in this second period which was quite surprising considering the firepower they have on the pitch – big names like Sanchez and Ozil failed to inspire and set up any goalscoring opportunities.
Mourinho brought in Wayne Rooney to replace Martial in the second half and Blind came in for Darmian.
Fan favourite Juan Mata opened the scoring for Manchester United in the 68th minute – a much deserved lead. Pogba picked the ball down the right and rolled in a perfect pass to find Herrera, reversed a neat pass back towards the middle of the box to pick Mata. The Spaniard made no mistake and slipped in a low strike past Petr Cech to put United ahead.
United looked to increase the lead and came too close on numerous occurrences as they lacked the finishing on the final ball. Nothing seemed to be working for Arsenal until Wenger decided to bring in French striker Oliver Giroud as a replacement for Elneny in the 73rd minute.
Mourinho looked confident to continue his impressive record against Wenger but before Giroud guided in a late header from a Oxlade-Chamberlain cross to clinch the crucial equaliser.
Oxlade-Chamberlain whipped in a teasing cross to the back post to find Giroud, who saved the day for the Gunners with a thunderous header past De Gea to hold back United in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.