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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 1 April, 2020


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Hello, and welcome to our liveblog.

Both these sides have experienced underwhelming starts to the season, with Arsenal currently eighth and Man United 11th.

The Red Devils’ home form has been particularly disappointing of late, losing three of their last six matches at Old Trafford.

The Gunners though have just three wins in their last 27 matches at Old Trafford. That stat, coupled with their indifferent form of late, makes this a hard game to call.

Confirmation of today’s teams…

Who do you think will win?

Poll Results:

Arsenal (370)
Man United (256)
Draw (228)

Speaking on Sky, Roy Keane says Paul Pogba is “probably” Man United’s best player.

He urges the France international to “dominate the game” but adds that it’s a concern when you “don’t know what you’re going to get” from your best player and suggests there are doubts surrounding his “mentality”.

We’re underway…

Interestingly, Tuanzabe has started at left-back for United, while Young is at right-back.

The 21-year-old is in the team in the absence of the unavailable Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

It’s been a pretty scrappy, uneventful opening.

Neither side has created a chance as of yet.

Good run by James down the left. He beats Chambers for pace before crossing

Luiz, however, is well placed to make the interception.

United appear to have targeted Chambers as a weakness.

The defender has just been booked for tripping up the lively James.

Man United have had 72% possession so far.

They haven’t applied too much pressure on the Arsenal defence despite their dominance on the ball.

manchester-united-v-arsenal-premier-league-old-trafford Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac battle for the ball . Source: Nick Potts

This game just hasn’t got going yet.

It hasn’t been helped by its stop-start nature owing to a couple of cynical fouls that the referee has been quite lenient on.

Rashford has just been booked for a poor, late challenge on Sokratis.

This game could do with something to liven it up.

Good play by Andreas Pereira. He gets in behind Guendouzi, runs towards the area and tests Leno with a low shot from the edge of the area.

That’s a bit better from United.

Andreas Pereira has just been booked for a late sliding challenge on Guendouzi.

Arsenal are starting to impose themselves on this game now and are growing in confidence.

Aubameyang finds space between United’s centre-backs.

The striker’s cross finds Pepe, whose volley is tame and comfortably saved by De Gea.

Young is the latest player to be booked.

He is penalised for a late challenge on Guendouzi, who has been in the wars of late.

United break. 

Pogba plays it through to Rashford, who doesn’t really look comfortable as he attempts a shot, and Papastathopoulos gets back in time to make the block.

Shortly thereafter, Arsenal counter. Saka forces a save from De Gea, before Guendouzi is denied on the rebound.

United break. Rashford crosses to McTominay on the edge of the area. He fires an unstoppable shot, which takes a slight deflection, into the roof of the net.

This game finally produces the quality that has been sorely lacking for the most part.

So half-time and it was a largely dismal opening 45 minutes with both sides below par.

Man United dominated possession in the opening stages without doing much with it, while Arsenal grew into the game as the half progressed, while also lacking cutting edge in attack.

Out of nothing, the game livened up in the final five minutes before the break, culminating with a brilliant goal from McTominay, a moment that starkly contrasted with the consistent dross which preceded it.

The second half has begun…

Arsenal have enjoyed a decent start to this second half.

The Gunners are controlling the play, with United seemingly content to sit back and play on the break.

As I type, Aubameyang crosses for Torreira, but the midfielder can’t make a proper connection on his subsequent attempt at a shot.

Kolasinac is a little fortunate. Lingard’s cross takes a deflection before hitting his arm. VAR adjudges it accidental.

Meanwhile, Arsenal make an attack-minded change, with Ceballos replacing Torreira.

Tuanzebe gives the ball away cheaply. Saka then plays through Aubameyang, who dinks it over De Gea and into the net.

It’s initially ruled offside, before VAR rightly awards a goal.

James’ initial shot is blocked. It then falls to Pogba, whose curled attempt from the edge of the area goes inches wide.

The second has been considerably more watchable than the first.

Big chance!

McTominay is completely unmarked from a corner, but his header goes over.

He should have punished Arsenal’s poor defending and got a second there.

Maguire finds himself with the ball on the edge of the area after a really sloppy pass from Pepe ends Arsenal’s attempted counter-attack.

The centre-back’s powerful shot is tipped over by Leno.

United make a double change.

Greenwood and Fred are on, while Pereira and Lingard depart.

Rashford will now move to the right-hand side of the attack, with Greenwood — who turns 18 tomorrow — operating centrally.

United are doing the majority of the pressing for a winner right now.

Arsenal look like they’d be happy enough to settle for a draw.

The Gunners make a final substitution, as Saka is replaced by Willock.

Arsenal break, but Ceballos’ shot is well wide.

It’s looking like this game will end all square.

Chance for United now.

McTominay drives forward before being taken out by Luiz on the edge of the area.

There will be four minutes of stoppage time…

Rashford’s curling free kick is well saved by Leno.

Greenwood makes a mess of his shot on the rebound.

Willock crosses for Nelson.

The first-time shot from the edge of the area is tame and easily saved by De Gea.

So that’s that.

The match ends in a draw amid a game that neither side really deserved to win.

There were a few exciting moments, particularly McTominay’s goal, but overall, it was a disappointing game that lacked energy and invention.

Arsenal were a bit more conservative and consequently will probably be the happier of the two sides to earn a point.

United, meanwhile, all too often looked toothless and lacking in creativity going forward.

manchester-united-v-arsenal-premier-league-old-trafford Manchester United's Axel Tuanzebe and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shake hands after the Premier League match. Source: Nick Potts

Right, that’s all from me for now.

We’ll have more reaction to follow.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our match report here.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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