Arsene Wenger and his group of players pulled out an unexpected performance out of the magic hat, as they managed to beat Manchester United, a Premier League match that was contested earlier today.
The Gunners, who were trailing their opponents by 5 points before the game, have now closed the gap to simply 2, and with a game in hand, they can now easily leap frog over United and occupy the 5th spot, increasing their chances to fight for a last minute entry into the top 4.
Arsene Wenger’s side beat Mourinho’s men 2-0, and it resulted in two consequences – one was the end of United’s long unbeaten run since mid-October, and the victory of Wenger over Jose for the first ever time in the League.
Here are 5 things we learned from this crucial tie which was played at the Emirates earlier today:
1. Mourinho focused on Europa League
The team Mourinho fielded made things pretty clear from the word go, that he was not here to win at all.
United were given a top 4 boost when Liverpool managed to drop points earlier in the day after drawing against Southampton, but the clear lack of desire to win today was proof of the focus the team has emphasised on the UEFA Europa League.
The Red Devils have a second leg semi-final coming up on Thursday night, a match where they are expected to win and progress into the finals, where they will most likely face Ajax. Winning that competition would guarantee a spot in the Champions League next season, and it clearly seems like the route Mourinho prefers to take.
Winning two games could secure highest level of European football next season for United, but with one loss in either two could lead to catastrophic consequences.
2. Top four race all but over
Given that Arsenal and Manchester United are still mathematically in the top 4 race, it seems highly unlikely that either of Liverpool or Manchester City will provide any further chances for the two of them in the last couple of games this season.
It would be the first time in over 3 decades that neither Arsenal nor Manchester United will participate in the Champions league – provided United fail to win the Europa League, of course – and it clearly goes to show the shift of power that has taken place in modern football.
3. Wenger still the man?
With #WengerOut being the most consistent trend this season, spread throughout globally, the Arsenal faithful might want to consider voicing another opinion after today’s result.
The team trumped a side that had lost only 3 games in the season prior to tonight, and revived their own top 4 chances while still being able to win silverware this season if they manage to beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final later this month.
4. Wayne Rooney is no more the same player
The current club skipper might be the highest ever goalscorer for his club and international side, but after today’s performance, it is fair to say the Englishman has crossed his prime and how.
Unable to keep up with the pace of the game and falling behind in quality alongside the likes of new boys Rashford, Mkhitaryan, and Lingard, one might consider it the ideal time for Wazza to say goodbye to the club he loves, and end his career in a place where the expectations on every touch of the ball might not be sky high.
Manchester United is a demanding club, and after being a loyal servant to them over the past decade, the correct time to leave has arrived for United’s number 10.
5. Axel Tuanzebe is a star for the future
The youngster made his debut in the Premier League today, and it could not have come any tougher than being away at the Emirates and facing Alexis Sanchez on your flank.
However, the Chilean was dominated and bullied by Tuanzebe all night, as the young lad showed no signs of nervousness or pressure in his first game. Amid United’s current injury crisis and the tough result earlier today, he certainly shone as the silver lining in a dark cloud.
Written by Vikram Gupta
An attacker with his words, and defends each of them with pride. A love for the game which goes hand in hand with his will to forever write. A graduate in the course of advertising and a hopeful to be author. Herrera for the win.