Marcus Rashford on the attack against Arsenal

Manchester United 1 Arsenal 1

Monday 30 September 2019 18:39

Manchester United were held to a draw against Arsenal at Old Trafford, a result that stalled a chance for the Reds to rise significantly up the Premier League table.

Scott McTominay gave us a first half lead before the interval with a thunderous drive, but it failed to knock the stuffing out of Unai Emery’s side, who launched a reply in the second 45 minutes when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelled with an equaliser, ruled in the Gunners striker’s favour by VAR after being flagged offside.

It wasn't the result boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have wanted as United stay mid-table in 10th position.

The tension was high with both sides knowing this was billed as a must-win game to claw their way back to the pace of the battle near the top of the table, and this showed with a tentative opening.

There were not any chances registered on the stats sheets until almost half an hour had gone. The match had been littered with fouls up to the point when Andreas Pereira went on an adventurous run and had Arsenal back-pedalling. The midfielder advanced and finally let fly with a low shot that was handled well by Gunners keeper Bernd Leno.

It fired the visitors into an immediate response but, fortunately for United, the Londoners' expensive summer signing Nicolas Pepe skied his shot high into the Stretford End.

Opportunities remained limited but United’s support rose in anticipation after 42 minutes when Paul Pogba won a ball from Matteo Guendouzi in midfield and drilled a quick pass to Marcus Rashford.

The striker had the pace to worry Arsenal’s defence but could not quite shrug off Sokratis Papastathopoulos and eventually ran out of space before he managed to unleash a meaningful shot.

The half was ending on an entertaining high with the Gunners replying with two efforts that brought the best out of David De Gea. The Spaniard palmed away an effort from the dangerous Bukayo Saka and was up quickly to block Guendouzi’s follow-up at the near post.

The flurry of opportunities raised the atmosphere and Old Trafford was soon rocking just before the interval.

After upping the tempo, Rashford retrieved a Daniel James cross and laid it back for McTominay, who raised the roof with a piledriver from the edge of the area to put us 1-0 in front in a heart-thumping finale to the half.

It was the Scotland international's first senior goal on his home ground and it couldn't have come at a better time.

Paul Pogba almost steered in a goal for the Reds in the second half.

United had some defending to do at the start of the second half as Arsenal went quickly about seeking an early equaliser. But it would have been solely down to De Gea to halt the chance had Lucas Torreira connected with a close-range ball set up by Aubameyang.

Fortunately, for us, the Uruguayan miscued his golden chance but it only delayed the leveller as the visitors kept up an intense fight back from their pre-interval shock.

Old Trafford was momentarily relieved when Aubameyang’s goal was ruled out for offside in the 58th minute after Axel Tuanzebe had presented the Gunners with a chance to attack and Saka made the most of it, sliding the ball to his team-mate for an opportunity.

However, after referee Kevin Friend had initially signalled offside, VAR ruled that Harry Maguire had played Aubameyang onside and the goal was given.

United were finding it tough to find our rhythm and almost went behind when Saka’s goalbound rive from 12 yards took a deflection off Victor Lindelof and over to safety a minute after the equaliser.

Pogba could have settled the growing nerves but his placed effort skirted just wide and then McTominay, bursting in at speed onto a corner, couldn’t keep his header down for a real missed opportunity.

Harry Maguire gets stuck into Arsenal as the battle intensifies.

Maguire went searching for his first goal but a thunderbolt hit was well saved by Leno.

The manager made his first changes in the 74th minute, bringing on Fred for Lingard and recent goal hero Mason Greenwood replaced Andreas.

It was a nail-biting ending and United's support was on the edge of their seats when Rashford lined up a free-kick just as the assistant referee indicated four minutes of added-on time. The striker's shot was saved well by Leno, diving away to his right, to ensure it finished all square.

United: De Gea; Tuanzebe, Lindelof, Maguire, Young (c); McTominay, Pogba; Andreas (Greenwood 74), Lingard (Fred 74), James; Rashford.

Subs not used: Romero, Rojo, Williams, Mata, Matic.

Goals: McTominay 45

Bookings: Rashford, Andreas, Young, Lingard

Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Torreira (Ceballos 55), Pepe (Nelson 74), Saka (Willock 79), Aubameyang.

Subs not used: Martinez, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Martinelli.

Goals: Aubameyang 59

Bookings: Chambers, Xhaka.

Attendance: 73,201