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Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal

Manchester United were beaten at Old Trafford against Arsenal in the Premier League as we fell to a second-half penalty by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Following the delights of Champions League football on Wednesday night, when the Reds were in rampant form against German side RB Leipzig, storming to an impressive 5-0 win, this was a disappointing come-down. United never really got into full stride as the north Londoners became the third opponents to win at Old Trafford in the league season...

Back in December 2018, United appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as our caretaker boss following the departure of Jose Mourinho. Ole kicked off his career in the Old Trafford job with a thumping 5-1 win away at Cardiff City in Wales. There has been plenty of water flowing under the bridge since then, including his permanent appointment in March last year. Solskjaer’s game against Arsenal was his 100th in charge of the Reds. 

Bringing the century milestone up against the Gunners didn’t prove to be the winning one he’d have wanted and he didn’t add to his 55 matches won as United boss. But he remains in third spot behind Ernest Mangnall, from 1903, and Mourinho, with his record in those first 100 matches bettering the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Matt Busby.

The manager’s tactics against RB Leipzig saw us play a diamond midfield formation starting with Nemanja Matic at the base, Paul Pogba and Fred in the wide roles and Donny van de Beek at the front point. It proved a huge success and the manager employed it again in the first half against Arsenal with different personnel. 

However, this time it wasn’t a tactic that gave us the edge and Solskjaer changed the system at half-time to have Scott McTominay and Fred sitting at the back in a 4-3-2-1 system. It certainly made a difference with the Reds making a better impact on a match Mikel Arteta’s side had held the upper hand in but, sadly, it didn’t bring a reward before Arsenal got their noses in front.

United could have climbed into the top half of the Premier League with a victory but we remain in 15th spot and, disappointingly, were unable to make an impact that would set things up nicely for the trip to Everton next weekend. However, with the division remaining so tight and United being just six points off the top four for instance, with a game in hand, there is no cause for panic and a run of wins would enable us to climb and make an impression.

It is one of those curious puzzles that United’s form in the Premier League at Old Trafford has been such a struggle this season. We were obviously behind everyone else with our late start to the league campaign, having played in the latter stages of the Europa League in the summer due to the delayed latter stages after the spring lockdown. 

It led to a subdued opener against Crystal Palace when the Reds were beaten 3-1. The heavy 6-1 loss to Tottenham followed, before the team drew against Chelsea. Having thrashed Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig 5-0 at home in midweek, it looked like United were regaining our home dominant form. It has been a different story in the Premier League and it's fair to say United are missing the Old Trafford crowd.

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