Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal

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The Breakdown

Analysis: Outstanding Mavropanos sets the tone

Arsene Wenger made a number of changes to his team for Sunday’s trip to Manchester United, and a youthful side played well - only to be beaten by a last-gasp goal.

In the latest episode of The Breakdown, Adrian Clarke examines the match in detail, focusing on:

  • How only a lack of punch in the final third let us down 

  • Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ confident performance
The way dips in awareness cost us at crucial times
Dinos Mavropanos’ outstanding display at the back

Post-Match Report

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal: How it happened

Reiss Nelson


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.


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)


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.


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. 


Watch the action from our game at Old Trafford

Despite Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goalscoring return to the side, we slipped to a late defeat against Manchester United on Sunday.

Paul Pogba gave the hosts a first-half lead before Mkhitaryan expertly found the bottom corner, but Marouane Fellaini’s stoppage time header ensured we left Manchester empty handed. 

Click ‘Play’ on the video above to watch the best of the action, and you can also check out our bonus highlights packages below:


Press conference

How are Mkhitaryan, Ospina and Iwobi?

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan returned from injury during our defeat to Manchester United on Sunday, but was left nursing a knock after levelling the scores.

The Armenia international was replaced on the hour mark and Arsène Wenger gave an update on our playmaker, plus David Ospina and Alex Iwobi, in his post-match press conference.

on whether there were any injuries…
I took off Mkhitaryan because he had a little knock on his knee again, on the same knee - we could see that just looking at him in the dressing room. Ospina has a rib problem and Alex Iwobi has a hamstring problem, so we’ll see how well everyone recovers. Thursday will come very quickly.

on whether they’ll be out of Thursday’s game…
Definitely? At the moment, no, but we’ll have to monitor them over the next 48 hours. We’ll know more on Tuesday.

Post-Match Gallery

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal: In pictures

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Check out the best shots from our photographers, up close to the action at the Emirates. 


Chambers - What I made of Mavropanos' debut

Calum Chambers

Calum Chambers couldn’t hide his disappointment after Arsenal conceded a last-minute Marouane Fellaini winner at Old Trafford.

The defender played his part in a committed and spirited performance alongside debutant Dinos Mavropanos, but said he was 'gutted' at the final whistle. Here's what he said to Arsenal Media in the tunnel post-match.

on facing heartbreak at the death…
Yeah, I’m gutted. I think everyone’s gutted and I feel that we deserved more. As a team we fought well and we fought hard and yet as you can probably tell, I’m just gutted.

on the defensive performance…
Together we all defended so well. We all worked our socks off out there and got the goal to bring it back and then it was a case of seeing it through, but unfortunately they scored right at the end. It’s just gutting.

on guiding Mavropanos through his debut…
He did really well. He’s a good player, he was strong out there and he held his own. I thought he was composed on the ball and had a good game. I thought all the young players had a good game and you know, it’s just one of those. We feel we deserve more than we got.

on focusing on the positives…
I think you can take positives from it. There are a lot of positives. At the moment it’s hard because the initial reactions are that we are all upset, but we will let that settle down and then tomorrow we will review it. There’s a lot of positives to take away and then obviously we’ve got a big game on Thursday to look forward to so our focus is now obviously towards that.

on the Atletico game…
Yeah, the attention is fully on Madrid now. Today we were obviously just focusing on today and as I’ve said, now we’ve got a big game on Thursday so I think we can have some good preparation toward that.

on our away form this season…
Yeah, but when you look at the way we played today, we showed character and the quality and depth of this squad. Obviously we didn’t get the result we wanted, but the performance I think we put in and as a team, we worked hard together, so there’s positive signs from that.


‘He’s given me the confidence to play my game’

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Maitland-Niles can hold his head high after his performance on Sunday.

Despite slipping to defeat against an experienced Manchester United side, the 20-year-old midfielder put in an impressive display in central midfield and was singled out for praise by Arsène Wenger after the match.

And Maitland-Niles was equally as complimentary about his manager after the game.

“The boss has been great for me and, while it was a bit nerve-wracking without a full squad, we knew we had to give the manager a proper send off.

“I’m happy playing in midfield and the boss trusts in me there,” he added. “I guess I delivered. I love playing centre midfield and to do that for Arsenal at Manchester United in the Premier League is a dream come true.

“He’s like a father figure. He tells you where to improve and gives you a lot of confidence to go and play your game. It’s brilliant having a manager like that.

“He’s been like that for most of the young boys that have played this season. I thank him very much.”

Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Arsène Wenger


‘It’s a sickener… but the performance was there’

Arsène Wenger cut a frustrated figure after watching his young side go down to a late Manchester United winner at Old Trafford.

A side showing eight changes from Thursday's 1-1 draw with Atletico almost recorded the same scoreline on Sunday afternoon, until Marouane Fellaini's late, late header.

It was tough to take for the boss, on his last trip to Old Trafford as our manager, though he was able to take plenty of encouragement from the performance.

"It's a sickener but overall I believe the positive performance was there, and some players stood up to the level that was requested and showed a big quality," he told Arsenal Player after the game.

"I would say our central defence has done well. Mavropanos, who nobody knew before, has done well. Maitland-Niles has done well too. Of course we know the experienced players who played, but Iwobi did well in the first half too, and tired in the second half. Overall these are all players who have shown great qualities."

Before the game the manager was presented with a commemorative trophy by former adversary Sir Alex Ferguson, to mark his final trip to Manchester.

"It was the first time I had got a trophy before the game," he smiled afterwards. "It's the end of a long, long story. I would like to thank Manchester United for the gesture they made. They will certainly be competing with Arsenal in the future again, and I will be following that with attention, and hopefully Arsenal come here next season and win."

Press conference

‘He’s becoming the player I think he can be’

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

While the result didn’t go our way on Sunday, there were still some positives to take from our defeat to Manchester United.

One was Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ performance in central midfield, and Arsène Wenger took the chance to praise the 20-year-old in his post-match press conference.

on Maitland-Niles and Dinos Mavropanos…
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is slowly becoming the player I think he can be in defensive midfield. He can create as well. Mavropanos, in training he has shown top quality but then you always have a question mark as long as you don’t see that under pressure in a big game. Until that, you don’t know. The big players do better in the competition than in training. They make a career, the others… we have many players at our level who do less well in competition than in training. That was the question mark and I think he did well. He surprised everybody by his quality today.

on his successor now believing there’s a lot of depth in this squad…
Look, my successor certainly will have watched this game today. Hopefully, he will come to positive conclusions for the players. For them, it’s whether they can be part of the future of Arsenal Football Club. I think some of them have shown today that they can be, 100 per cent. I would say, personally, 100 per cent.


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