Arsenal vs. Manchester United
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Saturday, 2 December 2017
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Manchester United secured a massive 3-1 victory away at Arsenal despite Paul Pogba’s second half dismissal.
Captain Antonio Valencia and Jesse Lingard scored inside ten minutes, only for Alexandre Lacazette to bring Arsenal back into proceedings no sooner had the second half began.
Pogba then did brilliantly to assist Lingard for his second and give United further breathing space, only for his challenge on Hector Bellerin to warrant a red card in the only sour note for the away side.
As early as the fourth minute, United took the lead, as Valencia roaming forward as the right wing-back, struck a low shot through Petr Cech’s legs after Pogba’s slipped pass.
Chris Smalling brought down Alexis Sanchez in a promising position but the latter struck the free-kick into the wall.
The 10 minute clock had only just been reached when Lingard’s pressure allowed Romelu Lukaku to feed Anthony Martial, whose flick found Lingard whose finish struck the inside of the post and in.
Lukaku’s cross was then dealt with after a blistering break from Arsenal’s corner before Ashley Young and Nemanja Matic saw shots blocked in the same move.
A tame effort from Aaron Ramsey was held before his volley struck Lacazette and fell over albeit the latter was offside.
Young did well to head Mesut Ozil’s free-kick off the line after Marcos Rojo brought down Sanchez on the edge of the box before United escaped by the skin of their teeth moments later.
Lacazette seemed to dance around United’s backline and saw his shot from close range deflected against the crossbar, and Granit Xhaka curled the follow-up wide.
Another visiting break saw Martial thread through Pogba, and his cross came off fellow countryman Laurent Koscielny but Cech was able to gather.
Striking a firm volley straight into the arms of David De Gea was Ozil as substitute Alex Iwobi, on for the injured Mustafi, struck over.
The hosts continued to force the pressure as Matic threw himself towards the ball to deny Ramsey, and De Gea produced a fine double stop to deny wing-backs Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac with smart parries.
De Gea was at it again, somehow clawing away the ball after a deep free-kick struck Lukaku, as half-time brought about a welcome relief for United.
If the Arsenal pressure didn’t serve as a warning for Jose Mourinho’s side, Sanchez found Ramsey’s run, and the touch allowed Lacazette to finish off the move and half the deficit.
Almost immediately, Lingard’s shot deflected off Cech, struck the bar, and Martial’s rebound was blocked.
At the other end, Iwobi fired straight at De Gea to parry before the former’s shot deflected over and then the Nigerian headed into the hands of the Spanish keeper.
De Gea then denied Lacazette and Sanchez in the matter of seconds, the latter from point blank range, before Xhaka dragged wide via his weaker right foot.
Against the run of play, United’s break saw Lingard feed Pogba, who waltzed past Koscielny, crossing for Lingard to tap home and restore the two goal lead.
Sanchez forced De Gea to beat away a venomous drive, Ozil saw a powerful shot blocked and Rojo diverted Koscielny’s cross behind for a corner.
Bellerin was then booked for taking out Young moments before Pogba was alleged to have stamped on the Spanish full-back, and referee Andre Marriner awarded Pogba a straight red card.
Substitute Matteo Darmian thwarted Ramsey with a block, as did Rojo from Lacazette and De Gea tipped over from Danny Welbeck’s deflected effort.
The former United man then headed over from Ramsey’s cross before Koscielny brought down Lukaku and only saw yellow despite being the last man.
De Gea caught the header from fellow countryman Nacho Monreal as Ramsey blazed over in stoppage time.
The goalkeeper was quickly praised by manager Mourinho following the arrival of full-time on the back of a huge win to keep the pace with Manchester City ahead of next weekend’s derby.
“I told after the match, what I saw today was the best from a goalkeeper in the world.
“You need the keeper to be there for you when the team needs.
“All the effort from the players was magnificent.”
This was the first time United have secured back-to-back away victories in the league this term, after an equally impressive 4-2 win at Watford on Tuesday night.
United also play this Tuesday, when CSKA Moscow visit Old Trafford in the final group game of the Champions League.
Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof, Smalling, Rojo; Valencia, Pogba, Matic, Young (Rashford 90+3); Lingard (Darmian 76); Lukaku, Martial (Herrera 67).
Subs not used: Romero, Blind, McTominay, Mata.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Arsenal: Cech; Koscielny, Mustafi (Iwobi 15), Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka (Welbeck 70), Kolasinac (Giroud 76); Ozil, Lacazette, Sanchez.
Subs not used: Ospina, Mertesacker, Coquelin, Wilshere.
Manager: Arsene Wenger