We were beaten on the road at Manchester United on Thursday night after a topsy-turvey game ultimately went the way of the home side.
Unbeaten in our last three visits to Old Trafford prior to this clash, we started on the front foot, zipping the ball about and keeping the hosts at arm’s length.
Having come close with an in-swinging corner that caused chaos within the first minute, we eventually made our set piece prowess count for the opening goal – but it was not without a hint of controversy.
That arose because when the ball was delivered into the box, United midfielder Fred stepped on David de Gea’s ankle and the goalkeeper went down. The loose ball fell to Emile Smith Rowe, and he finished smartly.
Cue mass confusion. It had to be a goal didn’t it, as no Arsenal player was involved in the clash with De Gea? Eventually after much debate, the goal was given and our fine start had its reward.
But after that we were pushed back by the hosts, who although not at their best, were causing problems – and eventually they found their equaliser just before the interval, Bruno Fernandes poking home from close range.
We started the second half on the front foot and Gabriel’s header soon brought a good save from De Gea, while at the other end Aaron Ramsdale had to be alert to deny Cristiano Ronaldo.
But the Portuguese wouldn’t be denied and minutes later he converted from Marcus Rashford’s cross to put the hosts in front.
But back we came, and an incredibly open start to the second half soon had another goal as Partey picked out Martinelli on the right, and his cross found Martin Odegaard and the Norwegian found the corner with a pinpoint strike to equalise.
The game remained open with Aubameyang having half a chance with a fierce drive that De Gea saved, but at the other end a tangle between Odegaard and Fred ended in a penalty for the hosts – and Ronaldo made no mistake from the spot.
We pushed and pushed to claw our way back into the match once more, but there was to be no late equaliser and we ended empty-handed from a frustrating night.
WHAT IT MEANS
We have the weekend off, before heading back to the north west on Monday night to take on Everton at Goodison Park.
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