Jesse Lingard celebrates after making it 2-2 against Arsenal

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 2

Wednesday 05 December 2018 22:27

Manchester United came back twice to draw 2-2 against Arsenal in a pulsating thriller at Old Trafford.

Goals from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard cancelled out strikes from Shkodran Mustafi and Alexandre Lacazette as the two sides put on a breathless show that you couldn’t take your eyes off.

The Reds' pursuit of the Premier League's top four took a hit four days earlier at St Mary’s and both Mourinho's shaken-up United side, showing seven changes from Saturday, and the fans knew that the rejuvenated Gunners had to be stopped from stretching further ahead in fourth place.

Arsenal have responded to the exit of long-time manager Arsene Wenger in positive fashion with new boss Unai Emery engineering a 19-match unbeaten run in all matches this season since two opening Premier League defeats.

The Reds, meanwhile, were guarding a 12-year long, 11-match unbeaten home record agains the Londoners. It all added up to a high-stakes and potentially feisty encounter and the resulting fayre didn't disappoint.

With Old Trafford at full volume and urging United to get on the front foot after some lacklustre starts to matches, the players responded and were like a pack of terriers in the tackle.

Arsenal rode the storm and then began to play the ball around, leaving the Reds to chase shadows at times. All the game was lacking in the early stages was a goal and when the first one eventually came, it was unfortunately the visitors who got their noses in front.

Anthony Martial smashes in United's first half equaliser against Arsenal

Shkodran Mustafi almost stumbled into a corner in the 26th minute but his header was hard enough to be fumbled by David De Gea. The Spanish goalkeeper spun around in horror at his error to see his compatriot Ander Herrera lash the ball away off the line. For a moment, it seemed United had escaped but referee Andre Marriner received a quick update from goal-line technology and confirmed the Gunners were 1-0 up.

It was a surprise mistake from our number one but the Reds refused to be destabilised by the rare error and were level just four minutes later. Having almost saved United at one end, Herrera was on hand to provide the assist for Anthony Martial’s leveller.

Marcos Rojo had thundered in a free-kick which Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno pushed aside. Quick thinking Herrera didn’t give it up, chased the loose ball and cut it back into the area. Martial cracked in the equaliser through a ruck of players.

The game got somewhat broken up after that flurry of goal action, as a number of overzealous tackles were punished by ref Marriner. It was high octane, robust stuff reminiscent of some past fiery United-Arsenal blockbusters.

The match was taking its toll on some bodies and Arsenal lost Holding and Ramsey in the first half to injury and after 63 minutes the Reds had scorer Martial limping off to be replaced by Romelu Lukaku.

Soon after there was a tactical switch by Emery as he finished his changes by bringing on Alexandre Lacazette for Iwobi.

The goals flowed again after 68 minutes in another stunning minute.

Rojo disappointingly gave the ball away to sub Lacazette in his own half and Arsenal broke on United. The French striker exchanged a one-two with former United player Henrikh Mkhitaryan and steamed on into the box.

Rojo and Bailly raced to attempt to recover the mess up and the Argentine's hopes of a rescuing tackle were thwarted as his challenge saw the ball bounce off Lacazette to put the Gunners back in front.

Once again United’s response was rapid. From the restart they attacked the still celebrating Gunners and a long ball put the Arsenal defence in trouble and Jesse Lingard reacted to drive in the second equaliser.

De Gea atoned for his first half error as he twice kept Aubamayeng out as the action continued at a breathtaking pace.

Jesse Lingard steals in to score United's second equaliser against Arsenal.

Rashford sent in a stinging long range shot and Lacazette claimed he’d scored with an audacious effort as he cheekily nicked the ball out of De Gea’s hands as the keeper prepared to kick upfield.

De Gea was back in the action as Arsenal turned up the late heat with Mkhitaryan having a 'goal' ruled out for offside and almost setting up a winner for Aubameyang when the striker’s powerful shot was brilliantly saved by the Spaniard.

It was a compelling, value for money finale as both sides had to settle for a draw.

Ander Herrera applauds the fans at the final whistle of a breathtaking match


United: De Gea, Dalot, Bailly, Smalling (C), Rojo (Fellaini 72), Darmian, Matic, Herrera, Lingard (Pogba 75), Martial (Lukaku 63), Rashford

Subs not used: Romero, Mata, Valencia, McTominay

Scorers: Martial, Lingard

Booked: Rojo, Lingard, Matic

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Papastathopoulos, Ramsey (Mkhitaryan 45), Torreira, Aubamayeng, Holding (Lichsteiner 36), Iwobi (Lacazette,64), Mustafi, Guendouzi, Kolasinac

Subs not used: Cech, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Nketiah

Scorers: Mustafi, Lacazette

Booked: Mustafi, Bellerin, Torreira

Attendance: 74,507.

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