That’s all for today’s blog. I’ll leave you with Jamie Jackson’s match report – goodnight.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang speaks “It’s a very big win. It’s been a very tough night but I’m really happy because the team did very well. It’s been a long time since we won here so it’s a great night. [Did you feel like you were in control of the game?] Yes, definitely. We spoke about it at half-time – we knew we had to score and we did. Mikel is bringing something very nice and everyone wants to follow his way. It was good to win tonight.”
“Putting Pogba in this team is like playing cards and swapping a Jack or a Queen card for a 4 or a 5,” says Stuart Lambert. “Why play a worse hand? He gives away the ball more than any midfielder. He gives away penalties because he’s bad at tackling. He doesn’t track back. He barely gets forward. I have never understood and will never understand the ludicrous hype. He is an average player that we.are playing ahead of VDB.”
I’d argue there is hardly anyone in the world with the same combination of strength and skill, but he doesn’t have the necessary bronca or concentration to be a top player – never mind a top, top one. He’s 27 now and it’s clearly not going to happen. The problem is that nobody will buy him, and there is this peculiar received wisdom that he has to be a regular starter. He should be a squad player, not least because he responds far better to the stick than the carrot. Although he was decent against Leipzig, I can’t really fathom why he is playing against of van de Beek.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second-half penalty settled the match. It was a nightmare for the hapless Paul Pogba, who needlessly fouled Hector Bellerin. United were poor – Arsenal’s hyper-aggressive start caught them on the hop, and they never really recovered. But Arsenal were terrific, especially their new signings Thomas Partey and Gabriel.
Let’s not get carried away about Partey. After all, he’s got only three strengths: winning the ball, carrying it and passing it. I’m not sure there’s a better midfielder of his type in the world.
Full time: Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal
Peep peep! For the first time in 5,159 days, Arsenal win a Premier League match at Old Trafford! It’s a famous scoreline for them on this ground. And while this won’t be quite as famous as the wins of 1990, 1998 and 2002, it’s a big landmark for an emerging team. Not least because the victory was thoroughly deserved.
90+3 min A tame long-range shot from Matic is comfortably held by Leno.
90+1 min Rashford runs at Gabriel and wins a corner. He takes it himself but it’s a poor one; Nketiah heads clear at the near post.
90 min Rashford is fouled by Maitland-Niles 40 yards from goal. Shaw wafts the free-kick into the area and Mustafi heads clear.
89 min Arsenal have parked the bus now. They’ve earned the right to do so, in fairness.
87 min And now Shkodran Mustafi has come on for Aubameyang, who is booked for taking too long to leave the field.
85 min: Elneny hits his own post! He didn’t know much about it. The influential van de Beek got round the back on the right and hammered a first-time cross towards the near post, where Elneny stuck out a leg and deflected the ball onto the near post. In fact replays show the ball hit Elneny and then Leno on the side of the head before deflecting onto the post.
84 min Matic plays a neat one-two with van de Beek in the area, and Gabriel comes across to make a vital last-ditch challenge.
82 min Arsenal are sitting deeper now but they still look very comfortable defensively. They’ve been excellent today, with and especially without the ball.
81 min “By my maths 75% of all penalties against United have been conceded by Pogba,” says Rajiv. “Regardless of attacking intent even defensively swapping van de Beek for Pogba was a safer option.”
I think Pogba is the single biggest problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer; I don’t understand what he is supposed to bring to the team. But blaming him for 75 per cent of the penalties conceded throughout Manchester United’s history is a bit much.
79 min That Maguire header hit Tierney on the back. Nothing to see here.
79 min Rashford’s long-range shot hits his teammate McTominay and flies over the bar.
78 min Maguire appeals unsuccessfully for a penalty when his header hits an Arsenal player. It looked like there might be have been an upstretched arm, though we haven’t seen a replay yet.
77 min “As a neutral observer of this fixture,” begins Matt Dony, “I never imagined I’d be longing for the halcyon days of John O’Shea.”
76 min Eddie Nketiah replaces Lacazette, who has worked extremely hard up front.
75 min “I’m sure this point has been made previously but unless you build the team, tactics and personnel around Paul Pogba, there’s very little point in selecting him,” says Stephen Carr.
75 min A double change for United: Edinson Cavani and Donny van de Beek replaces Mason Greenwood and… Bruno Fernandes. That’s more than a little surprising, especially as Pogba is still on the pitch.
74 min Gabriel, who has already been booked, fouls Greenwood near the byline. That could easily have been a second yellow card, probably should have been.
72 min Arsenal’s last league victory at Old Trafford was in September 2006, though they did win here in that FA Cup quarter-final in 2015.
71 min Greenwood is booked for a lunging tackle on Lacazette. He won the ball but was penalised for his follow through.
71 min “United look like they’re feeling a bit sorry for themselves, for all that we’ve lifted it a bit this half,” says Christopher Faherty. “Can’t score the kind of goal we want to score, ie. a break into space against an undermanned defence. This isn’t a problem we’re going to stop facing anytime soon.”
Having van de Beek and Fernandes on the pitch at the same time might help.
70 min It was such a needless penalty to give away. Bellerin came on the blindside of Pogba, who kicked his foot and knocked him over.
GOAL! Man Utd 0-1 Arsenal (Aubameyang 69 pen)
Aubameyang scores emphatically! He sent de Gea the wrong way and slapped the ball into the bottom right corner.
68 min: Penalty to Arsenal! A stupid tackle from Pogba on Bellerin has been rightly penalised by Mike Dean.
67 min “Lacazette’s USP – if not goals – is receiving the ball, holding it, turning, laying it off and running into the danger area,” says Charles Antaki. “In this game he’s not really managing the first, so the others are moot. Time for a change?”
Quite possibly. I’m sure Nketiah will come on if it stays like this.
65 min A fine challenge from Gabriel on Pogba sets Arsenal on the counter-attack. Eventually Tierney hammers a cross that is punched away by de Gea. It reaches Elneny, who slaps a shot over the from 22 yards.
62 min Nothing much to report in the last few minutes. United are making the first change, with Nemanja Matic replacing Fred in midfield.
58 min A fierce long-range drive from Partey is well held above his head by de Gea. That’s Arsenal’s first shot on target I think.
55 min Bellerin shoves over Pogba, who has been more influential since half-time. The free-kick is 25 yards out on the left wing. Shaw swings it deep towards Maguire, who plants a header back across goal and just wide. I’m not sure whether he was going for goal or trying to put it back into a dangerous area.
53 min Pogba beats Partey with a nice piece of skill on the left and hammers a cross that is headed away by Holding at the near post.
52 min: Chance for Arsenal! Fred dithers in midfield, which allows Lacazette to pick up a loose ball and run at a backpedalling defence. He plays a short pass into the D for Aubameyang, who opens his body and sweeps a trademark shot just wide of the far post.
50 min “If I have a complaint against Ole it’s that he waits too long to make a change,” says Ben Walls. “When you wrote he’d make a change at half time I bet money he wouldn’t.”
He has at least made a tactical change, and United have been much better at the start of the second half. But I agree with you that substitutions aren’t his strong point.
48 min Tierney misjudges a crossfield pass, which allows Greenwood to collect and move into the area from the right. He can’t find an angle for the shot and eventually tees up Wan-Bissaka, whose cross-shot deflects over the bar.
48 min United have switched to a 4-2-3-1: Pogba left, Greenwood right, Fernandes behind Rashford.
47 min “Deaths where dementia was a factor rose by 175% in women over 85 between 2002 and 2015, and 250% for men,” adds Jake Noble. “It’s partly due to the increase in diagnosis rates for dementia, and partly due to the increased numbers of people reaching old age.”
47 min “I’m no expert, but I read somewhere that as the old killers are becoming less prevalent (from mining or from asbestos working for example) and therapies work better on diabetes, cancer and stroke, people live long enough for diseases like dementia to get a grip,” says Gary Naylor. “Public health stats are always rather tricky to interpret, I understand, from people much cleverer than me.”
46 min Peep peep! United begin the second half, with no changes on either side.
“Are you watching the same match as the Sky commentators?” says Martin Lancon. “At least Utd had a shot on target.”
They did, it’s true, but there’s another stat that tells a better story of the half in my exceptionally humble opinion. At one stage Arsenal had played 31 passes in the final third to United’s three.
Half time: Man Utd 0-0 Arsenal
Peep peep! Mike Dean plays precisely no seconds of added time before blowing for half-time. An aggressive Arsenal were much the better team and should really be ahead. Willian hit the bar and Bukayo Saka missed an excellent headed chance just before the interval. A jittery United need to change the formation, the players or both. Arsenal just need to score a goal.
45 min “Readers may be interested in this link,” says Gary Naylor. “Things don’t look too good I’m afraid.”
Was dementia as big a problem for players of previous generations? Or was there something different about football/footballs in the 1960s?
44 min Saka misses an excellent chance, heading tamely over the bar from eight yards after a cross from Bellerin. It was a free header, with Lindelof and Wan-Bissaka leaving him to each other.
42 min Fred dumps a long pass into the area. Holding heads it straight up in the air towards Rashford, who miscontrols it onto his bicep and his penalised for handball. He was facing away from goal anyway, so it wasn’t exactly a clear chance.
40 min I’m sure Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will make a change at half-time. Donny van de Beek for the anonymous Pogba is one option, although he might bring on Cavani and go to a front three.
39 min: Willian hits the bar! Lindelof was at fault this time, losing the ball to Lacazette just outside the area on the United left. Lacazette gave the ball to Willian, who played a slick one-two with Aubameyang and cracked a rising left-footed drive that hit the top of the bar.
37 min Lindelof gets another very important touch, diverting Aubameyang’s low cross away from Lacazette, who was already in the act of shooting. The chance came when Wan-Bissaka missed an attempted header from Bellerin’s cross, which allowed it to reach Aubameyang.
36 min Rashford and Greenwood have swapped again, which is a bit odd as they looked much better the other way.
35 min Willian floats an interesting cross towards Aubameyang beyond the far post. The stretching Lindelof gets a slight but important touch on the ball and Aubameyang pokes it well wide on the stretch.