|Source: Manchester Evening News|
Manchester United XI vs Arsenal:
Sergio Romero, Ashely Young, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelöf, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 8th match in charge of United was a fourth round FA cup game against traditional rivals Arsenal. Olé was looking to make it eight wins out of eight, continuing his 100% record as Manchester United manager. It wasn’t going to be easy but us United fans were confident that the run could continue and we could book our place in the next round of the cup.
And our confidence wasn’t misplaced as we beat Arsenal quite convincingly with a 3-1 win. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactics and game plan were spot on, as we let Arsenal attack us and have possession, only then to hit them devastatingly on the counter attack. This is exactly what happened for all 3 of United’s goals.
It’s safe to say that Alexis Sanchez hasn’t hit his best form since moving to United, but it was he who scored the first goal, and against his former club as well. The goal was created by a superb reverse pass by Romelu Lukaku, who found Sanchez as he then rounded Petr Cech and gave United a 31st-minute lead.
For the second goal, coming only a couple of minutes later, it was once again created by the good play of Romelu Lukaku. This time it was Jesse Lingard who profited as his precise finish doubled United’s advantage and gave United the breathing space they needed. It wasn’t all good in the first half however, soon after, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled one back for Arsenal setting up an entertaining second half of football.
Ole’s game plan worked once again in the second half as the tie was finally wrapped up, courtesy of United substitute Anthony Martial, who pounced and finished from a loose ball following a Paul Pogba shot.
This result now means that since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken over the United job we have won eight games out of eight and have a 100% record. In that time we have also been able to close the gap on the top 4 from 11 points to just 3 points and we have now caught up with 5th place Arsenal who were initially miles ahead of us. As well as this, after this game we have also progressed to the next round of the FA cup. It’s all looking good with Olé at the wheel.
What’s next for United?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign continues to be full of positivity, optimism, attacking football, winning mentality and exciting football. This is the best it has been to be a United fan since the mighty Sir Alex Ferguson retired, and it’s safe to say the fans are enjoying it.
There are a few things to take away from this game for United. Firstly, after watching this game it’s never been more obvious to me how important Lingard is. I’m all for signing another right winger in the summer but Lingard’s heart, desire, and work rate in big games like this is irreplaceable.
Secondly, even though Ashley Young has been a great servant to the club the past couple of years, he cannot start for the club next season. He is the weakest link in our defense and if we want to make a serious campaign for trophies next year we need to form a formidable defense and Ashley Young can’t be a part of it.
Finally, we just have to mention that we now currently have all of our forwards playing in good form with Rashford, Martial, Sanchez and Lukaku all now looking good under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It will be interesting over the course of the rest of the season to see which of these forwards will win the battle for first team places, which is a great problem to have, not just for the manager but also for the club as a whole.