Tuesday, 19 March, 2019

Pitch invader shoves Smalling during Arsenal goal celebrations

Unai Emery says Mkhitaryan Arsenal legend, fans disagree with Emery over Iwobi's substitution
Isaac Mcdaniel | 11 March, 2019, 13:14

That is the same case with Manchester United, as their unbeaten streak is now over, for the first time since 19 December and that fateful 3-1 loss to Liverpool in Jose Mourinho's last match at the helm.

Defeat in the first one, against a United side buoyed by their remarkable Champions League win against Paris Saint-Germain, would have been a damaging setback to Arsenal's top-four hopes, but Emery chose to be bold. We had more chances.

Lukaku had a golden opportunity to score from close range early in the second half but his first touch was heavy and, as he lunged to shoot, goalkeeper Bernd Leno blocked the shot with his body to send the ball spinning up and over the bar.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the 2-0 defeat, Solskjaer admitted that the Champions League win over PSG may have been a factor, but added that Xhaka's goal in the 11th minute was also key.

Alexandre Lacazette was inches away from converting Sead Kolasinac's inviting centre as Arsenal looked to take the game to United.

A Granit Xhaka strike and a second-half penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed from the spot in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham last week, gave the Gunners three valuable points that lift them into fourth.

"Maybe a backlash from Wednesday night, but we created chances and when they get the first goal it becomes a different game". Tottenham's bad form has dragged them back into a race, while United's upturn under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has put them right in the mix. This was a good performance from him, much more assured in possession, even though he did have some mistakes.

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"I don't think nerves go into it yet".

The was potentially a massive result for Arsenal in the race for top four, with the Gunners now only one point behind third-placed Tottenham Hotspurs, having been ten points behind their fierce rivals only three weeks ago.

"But we've given ourselves a great chance to be in that fight".

The manner of their setback at Arsenal suggested some United players are feeling the pace of a hectic fixture schedule, with United legend Neville suggesting the challenge in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup could be too big a workload for Solskjaer's players.

"We had the flawless mixture of fighting the opponent and playing football". He is quoted by Metro as saying: "We know they are doing very well". But I came back the next morning with a big spirit, with a big confidence for Sunday first and also for this week. Emery has had three-quarters of a season to work with his players on the training pitch at Arsenal's London Colney base and the defensive drills have clearly had a positive effect; his side looked well-organised and determined against United and were prepared to throw their bodies in the way when it mattered.

It's fine to be disappointed about the Arsenal result, but the reality is, United still have their destiny in their hands, and it's unlikely so many key players have an off day again.

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