Manchester United – Arsenal: United bounce back twice to narrowly seal a point in an enthralling clash with Unai Emery’s Arsenal (2-2)
Old Trafford was the stage for a decaffeinated clash of the titans, as José Mourinho’s turbulent United hosted Emery’s resilient reds. Despite the expectations that both sides would mirror each other’s formation, Manchester United and Arsenal each came op with variants of their own that slightly differed from the other team. This made for a fascinating tactical battle, even though that story got lost somewhat in this game full of chaos.
Tactical analysis by Peter M.
Mourinho made a staggering seven changes compared to the side that started in the game against Southampton on Saturday, where they came from behind to salvage a point and collected a 2-2 draw. Not a single member of the back-five on that day survived to start in the backline for this encounter, which now consisted of Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling, returns for Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly as well as a full debut for summer signing Diogo Dalot.
Emery only made one unforced change from the side that dramatically beat their North London rivals on Sunday – Aaron Ramsey stepped in for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Granit Xhaka’s suspension saw Mattéo Guendouzi return to the eleven alongside Lucas Torreira.
Jesse Lingard gives United control in the early phase of the match
What looked to be a 3-4-2-1 formation for Manchester United actually turned out to be a 3-4-1-2 shape, and could even be labelled as a 3-5-2. The key was that Lingard was given freedom in the . . .