SAKA SHINES AGAIN
Bukayo Saka has another feather in his cap: at 18 years and 25 days he's now the youngest ever player to start a Premier League fixture between us and Manchester United. It's a good line for his CV (as if he has a CV...) and it's no exaggeration to say that Saka was one of the most influential players on the pitch. Saka played the percentages at first, feeling his way into the game, but he moved through the gears on the half-hour mark. Quick feet took him away from two markers and, from that moment on, Saka had the confidence to try at least some of his repertoire. De Gea denied him the opening goal but it was Saka's instant pass that set up Aubameyang for our equaliser, and the teenager was desperately unlucky not to see his firm shot from Chambers' cross flick up and over the bar off Lindelof. Saka eventually made way and took the long way back to our bench, passing under the away fans as he walked around the Old Trafford pitch. The reception said it all - our fans already love him.
AUBA MATCHES BERGKAMP
Speaking of feathers in caps, Auba now has the distinction of being the first player since the mighty Dennis Bergkamp to score seven goals for us in the opening seven games of a Premier League season. The Dutch master did that back in 1997/98 - en route to being crowned Footballer of the Year - and his portfolio included some true works of art. Remember that finish to complete his hat-trick at Leicester? Auba's running Berkgamp close for classy finishes this season and Monday night was another case in point, a nonchalant dink with his left foot to fool De Gea after Saka had played our top scorer through. It was Auba who raised his eyebrows to the referee about a questionable offside decision, and he was vindicated soon enough. Trust Auba to time his run to perfection.
Yes, United had their chances. We needed Bernd Leno's reflexes to deny Maguire's piledriver and Rashford's curling free-kick, and Pereira was also stopped by our goalkeeper after tricking his way into the box. But the deluge of chances we conceded against Watford and Aston Villa dried up somewhat at Old Trafford. We were compact and organised, pressing with energy in midfield, closing off spaces outside the box, putting pressure on would-be crossers on the flanks and tidying up at the heart of defence. David Luiz won more than his fair share in the air and Sokratis kept Rashford quiet for the most part. This was a defensive improvement, and something to build on after we allowed too many shots in recent games.
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