Post-Match Report

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal: How it happened

Reiss Nelson

Manchester United -

Old Trafford
Premier League
Premier League
  Manchester United
      
              P. Pogba (16)
               M. Fellaini (90)
          
   crest
Manchester United
P. Pogba (16) M. Fellaini (90)
2 1
  Arsenal
      
                  Mkhitaryan (51)
            
   crest
Arsenal
Mkhitaryan (51)

WHAT HAPPENED

Our young Arsenal side suffered a gut-wrenching injury-time defeat to Manchester United, after Henrikh Mkhitaryan looked to have earned a well-deserved point against his former side.

The Armenia international, back in the side after injury, fired us level in the second half after Paul Pogba had given the hosts the lead, but substitute Marouane Fellaini headed home in the second minute of stoppage time to extend our away day woes in 2018. 

Mkhitaryan was one of eight changes to the side, with Arsène Wenger shuffling his deck as expected for his final trip to Old Trafford. One of those also coming into the team was Greek defender Dinos Mavropanos, making his first-team debut alongside Calum Chambers in the centre of defence.

He had an impressive first outing in Arsenal colours, and was one of several players who didn't deserve to be on the losing side. Ainsley Maitland-Niles also impressed in midfield, closing down well and showing his pace throughout the afternoon.

There were chances for both sides in the first half, the first of which fell to United. Pogba screwed a shot wide when well-placed inside the area, and Jesse Lingard crossed when he might have shot, finding himself alone in the area.

At the other end Mkhitaryan had a low cross turned to safety while Reiss Nelson's low shot was easily saved by David de Gea. We were looking to spring forward on the counter at every opportunity.

But United were starting to exert more pressure, and it told on 15 minutes when Pogba broke the deadlock. The France international started the move with a driving run from midfield, before working the ball out wide. 

Alexis looked certain to score with his head at the far post, but Hector Bellerin made a superb diving block to divert his effort onto the post. Unfortunately the ball fell straight to the waiting Pogba to tap home.

Paul Pogba scores at Old Trafford

We kept fighting. Mkhitaryan shot just wide after being set up by a neat Maitland-Niles flick, which diverted the ball into his path, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed tamely at De Gea from a Bellerin cross.

We were well in the game at the break, and the lively Mkhitaryan brought us level early in the second period with his well-placed long-range shot.

Captain Granit Xhaka won the ball in midfield and fed the Armenian, who ignored the run of Aubameyang to plant his shot from 20 yards into the bottom corner.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan celebrates

Another former United man, Danny Welbeck, came on for the final half hour, and he immediately tested De Gea from 25 yards out.

But it was United's substitute, Fellaini, who had the last say. Moments after Marcus Rashford had a goal ruled out for offside, the Belgian headed a cross just beyond the diving Ospina inside the far post.

WHAT IT MEANS

We are still looking for an away point in the Premier League in 2018, and can no longer mathematically reach the top four. We stay sixth, three points ahead of Burnley, and we face them in our next Premier League game, on Sunday at Emirates Stadium.

Premier League table post-United (a)

WHAT'S NEXT

It's the big one in Madrid in the second leg of the Europa League semi-final. Atletico's late equaliser at Emirates last week means we have it all to do in the Spanish capital, and need to score at least once to reach the final in Lyon and extend Wenger's reign by a few more days.


MAVROPANOS WATCH

Twenty-year-old defender Dinos Mavropanos became our 200th debutant under Wenger. Here are some of his key moments.

2 - An early touch to calm the nerves as he beats Jesse Lingard in a foot race and passes back to David Ospina.
 
12 - He's in the right place to head away Herrera's right-wing cross.
 
25 - The Greece Under-21 international stepped forward well out of defence to make the interception and start an attack.
 
31 - Wins a header with a strong challenge against Romelu Lukaku.
 
44 - Coolly chests the ball down inside the area and passes out to Alex Iwobi.
 
47 - A fair, solid tackle on Lukaku to dispossess the Belgian, and the striker was forced to come off injured.
 
62 - Clearing header at the far post to deal with an in-swinging corner.
 
69 - Steps forward to intercept, beat his man then lay the ball off on halfway.
 
71 - Excellent header at the far post to take it away from Marouane Fellaini who was lurking to convert a deep cross.