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Manchester United vs Arsenal Recap

John Lally, Soccer Correspondent

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On Saturday, December 2, Manchester United took on their rivals Arsenal, in North London at the Emirates Stadium. Coming into the game, both teams were gaining momentum. After a tumultuous start to Arsenal’s season, they seem to have finally been catching the wind in their sails, as they defeated their biggest rivals Tottenham in the North London Derby. Many attribute this turnaround to the binding of superstars, Alexandre Lacazette, Alexis Sanchez, and Mesut Ozil (Who is linked to a move to Manchester United after his contract expires in the summer), as they have lead Arsenal’s charge up the table. However, after regaining many players from the injury list, United have been playing much better in the Premier League. All in all, this game was a must-win for United, as they hope to keep pace in the title race with Manchester City, who they face off with next week.

United started the game at a blistering pace, which lead to an opening goal, in the 4th minute, from right-back Antonio Valencia, powering the shot through the keeper’s legs, assisted by Paul Pogba. United then scored another goal in the 11th minute, when Jesse Lingard scored on a pass from the improving left wing Anthony Martial.

Although United was off to an overpowering start, goal-wise, they were still not in control of the game. Arsenal had possession for around 80% of the game and had more than double the number of shots on goal as United. However, most of those shots were thwarted by the world’s best goalkeeper in David De Gea, who tied the Premier League record for the most saves in one game at 14.

Eventually, however, Arsenal broke through De Gea’s line in the 49th minute. This goal came after a barrage of shots on goal from Arsenal and was assisted by Aaron Ramsey, after a ball over the United defense, who poorly marked many of the north London attackers. At this moment, it felt as though Arsenal finally broke through the United defense and would run away with the game. The Emirates was raucous and Arsenal kept on attacking with waves of red shirts going forward. However, this atmosphere was killed in the 63rd minute. This occurred after Jesse Lingard scored a brace, after a beautiful run by Paul Pogba, for his second assist of the game, showing his worth in the United side. Sadly, Pogba’s performance was overshadowed by his straight red card in the 73rd minute. This occurred when he lost the ball after a strong tackle from Hector Bellerin and Pogba did not avoid the sliding Bellerin, thus stepping on his calf. Then, after this lapse in judgment Pogba began to sarcastic clap in the referee’s face and now may face a lengthy ban from the Premier League. Either way, Pogba will miss next week’s crucial game against first-place Manchester City and has lowered United chance’s greatly off picking up any points against, currently, the best team in the world.

Updates: Romelu Lukaku’s woes are still very prevalent in his play. His goal scoring has decreased greatly since the beginning of the season and has missed many open chances, including multiple against Arsenal. (He must improve his first touch, as it is very heavy and makes it hard to move around the defender, and passing, as he has caused United to miss many chances because of his poor crosses and through balls.) However, youngster defender Victor Lindelof is finally finding his own in the United squad, as he has now put together a string of very successful games.

All in all, United must pick up points next week against Manchester City to stay in the title race. As of right now United sit eight points back of City and must go against all odds and end CIty’s 13 game win streak in the Premier League, even without Pogba.

Photo from the Telegraph

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