Following yet another international break, the Premier League kicked off with a mammoth clash on Saturday, as Manchester United hosted rivals Arsenal at the Theatre of Dreams.
Jose Mourinho’s men managed to dominate Arsene Wenger’s Gunners for most of the game, but the match eventually ended in a 1-1 draw, with Olivier Giroud’s equalizer cancelling out Juan Mata’s opener.
Here are the four things we learned from the stalemate:
1. Mourinho’s men yet to learn how to kill the game
Manchester United managed to dominate most of the match, but failed to secure all 3 points, after letting Arsenal substitute Olivier Giroud level the score late in the game.
Despite Mourinho’s claim that his side were out of luck – “unluckiest in the Premier League,” as the Portuguese was quoted as saying in his post-match interview – the fact of the matter is that the Red Devils simply cannot kill the game.
United experienced a similar kind of result during early October, where they dropped 2 points against Stoke City despite gaining the lead, thanks to Joe Allen’s late equalizer. The Reds also failed to secure a win against Burnley at the end of the same month, even after attempting 37 shots on goal.
Jose’s team simply needs to start converting the chances and putting games to bed if they intend to get their season back on track, and start winning games consistently.
2. Luck helps Wenger take something away from Old Trafford
Arsenal came to Old Trafford on Saturday as favourites to win the game, but the performance they put in told a different story altogether.
The Gunners were completely dominated by the home team, and despite enjoying slightly more possession (51% to United’s 49%), they only attempted 5 shots to United’s 12, and created 3 chances to United’s 9.
Having looked at the stats, and with the way things went on the pitch, it’s safe to say that Giroud’s equalizer came completely against the flow of the game, and Manchester United’s naivety, along with some luck, helped Wenger’s men snatch a crucial point from the game.
3. Manchester United may have found their best midfield trio
Jose Mourinho fielded Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, and Paul Pogba in midfield for the crunch game against his arch-enemy, and this United midfield completely dominated the middle of the park throughout the game.
Carrick brought in some much-needed stability and defensive cover in front of United’s makeshift back line, whilst also helping Paul Pogba wander further forward and create an offensive threat.
Ander Herrera, meanwhile, was as active and industrious as ever, and not only won some key midfield battles, but also provided the assist for Juan Mata’s goal.
The Special One seems to have finally found the right men to play in the center of the pitch.
4. Mourinho remains unbeaten by Wenger in the Premier League
Despite boasting a comparatively more in-form team, Arsene Wenger got outwitted and dominated by Jose Mourinho on yet another occasion, in spite of the final result.
Out of the 11 PL games contested between the two, the Portuguese has now won 5 and drawn 6 against the Frenchman, with his teams scoring 18 goals and conceding just 5.
Will Arsene ever find a way to beat Jose in a competitive fixture?