In an otherwise forgettable game, outside of the stunning strike from Scott McTominay, it was more of the same at Old Trafford as an underperforming attack was covered by a somewhat sturdy defence, outside of the one mistake, that was punished impeccably by Aubamayang.
Defence the best attack
As much as it may contravene with the traditions and ideals that have been set by Man Utd and championed by Solskjaer, drawing teams onto us and breaking into space might be the tactic gives us most joy this season. Although we have said to have implemented a press, it does not seem to bear much fruit in terms of turnovers at all, let alone in dangerous areas. This lack of counter pressing means that the only strategy that allows us to give us the space for our attackers to run into is to give up possession. We looked our most dangerous whenever Arsenal emptied their half and our best chance and goal came from those situations. Of course, when teams that are not as good as us do sit back, it brings a conundrum where we do not have the personnel or tactical nous to break down teams but is an issue that Solskjaer will have to work out because we endanger ourselves the more of the ball we have
From Tuan half to the next
Axel Tuanzebe had his first start vs Arsenal of the season and his first half, he strolled through with consummate ease, as his opponent, the £72m summer signing in Nicolas Pepe, struggled to get any change out of the makeshift LB on the day. Numerous times he turned out of pressure and calmly distributed into midfield, coming out as the outstanding player within the first 45. The second showed more of the fish out of water an inexperienced player making only his third Premier League start many would have expected. At times, his intent to show composure made him look sluggish rather than calm. The fact that he was a right sided LB was the main reason the ball spun away from Lindelof for the goal, that VAR helped assist. It was a poor mistake, hopefully something that would be able to learn from as the majority of the performance was something to build upon, in the centre of the defence.
McTop of the Pops
As backhanded as it may seem, the simple fact that the Scottish international has the ability to just keep it simple and play within his limits has him as arguably one of the better performers, topped off with a quite magnificent goal, slightly deflected into the top corner. A poor opening few minutes contrasted the rest as he held a good shield in front of the back four with Pogba. In a somewhat scrappy game, the state of it probably helped exemplified McTominay’s strengths as his ball winning ability and running with the ball was especially noticeable in the second half as space opened up with both teams chasing for the winner.
Pogba continued his much maligned form in the first half as his passes were either too heavy or under hit. He tried to play too much with it in dangerous areas at several times, almost being punished in the early mins. The second half was markedly better but that in itself being average showed the standards of the opening half
Rashford struggles again in his lone role. Against a particularly rough CB pairing, it wasn’t surprising he had little impact in the game. At the moment, daring runs down the channel is all he seems able to offer