Manchester United got their first win against Arsenal under Jose Mourinho via a 3-1 victory at the Emirates on Saturday and contributing writer, Nathan Quao, of Citi Sports, Accra, Ghana, has underlined the main talking points from the tie.
Under Jose Mourinho, the team has always had a conservative disposition on the road. Teams of relatively greater strength are met with a Man United team that is prepared to keep the doors and windows closed.
Great strategy for self-preservation but the team should have the right to go at the opposition and see what can be gained. That has rarely happened.
Until today. This time, Mourinho chose his men wisely and for the second straight game, Jesse Lingard’s pace was harnessed very well especially for the second and third goals.
Under Louis Van Gaal and Sir Alex Ferguson, playing on the break at Arsenal yielded some fruits and Mourinho saw the prudence to use it whether at times, it seemed planned and at other times, it was largely a consequence of Arsenal’s search for goals.
Man United today had a plan. The manager conceived it. The players respected it and both parties saw it through the very end for a very important result on the road against one of the Big 6 teams.
Jose Mourinho said after the match that he “loved the way the team played and the players deserved the good reviews. They were phenomenal and fantastic.”
Jose, we loved them too.
Super De Gea
Whenever you think of the notion that goalkeepers are the last line of their team’s defence, you will have to note De Gea’s performance at the Emirates as a very good example.
He virtually was the barrier between Arsenal and perhaps, a point or even all three.
He made 14 saves on the day but the variety and value of the stops tell the full story.
He stopped two shots in the first half from Kolasinac and Bellerin but the ones from a failed Lukaku clearance and the double save from a shot by Lacazette and a follow-up from Alexis Sanchez were top stuff.
The reaction and the bravery in the heat of the situation was amazing and he was never flustered in the game.
His growth has been wonderful to see and his showing against the Gunners puts an exclamation mark on his push for the best goalie in the world.
We need to thank the problem with the fax machine from a years ago. De Gea could have been in a Real Madrid shirt saving them from defeat.
He could go one day but until then he is David De Gea. Manchester United’s number one goalkeeper.
The taste of victory will surely be watered down by the sending off of Paul Pogba. The player was doing his work well on the pitch and had set up Jesse Lingard for the third goal of the day.
But he found himself in a tough situation as he was already in motion and he had nothing to do. The decision, y the rules, was spot on. Pogba’s studs were showing and he landed on Hector Bellerin’s calf area.
Man United will not have Pogba for the Manchester Derby next weekend and they will have to deal with that.
Herrera and Matic in central midfield? Can Fellaini get back into the team? What about Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan?
A new plan will have to be worked out and there should no time for sympathy. The manager has to find answers to the puzzle he is faced with. No doubts about that.
The focus must shift to the next match because the season is in motion and there are second takes and rewinds.