Arsenal went into the game at old Trafford with one eye on the Europa league semi-final second leg on thursday in Madrid against Atletico. The gunners fielded their youngest premier league side since 2011 when man Utd beat arsenal 8-2 at old Trafford. Players like reiss nelson, ainsley maitland-Nile’s and Konstantinos mavrapanos where all included in the starting line up. United however started a very strong team with the likes of alexis Sanchez, romelu Lukaku and Jesse lingard to name just a few started.
The encounter started very evenly with both sides showing they can attack. United took the lead through Paul pogba on the eleventh minute. The goal came after Antonio Valencia crossed in towards Alexis Sanchez who headed against the post via hector bellerins shin, the ball then popped up to Paul pogba who volleyed into the top corner of all empty net from barely six yards out. Arsenal felt hard done by as the young side had made a positive start to the game.
The remainder of the second half contained not much action bar a henrik mkhitaryan miss that whistled inches wide of his target.
Mkhitaryan equalised after five second half minutes from a terrific strike into David de geas right hand corner. United pressured Arsenal’s goal trying to find the decisive goal which would put them into a leading position. That goal came one minute into injury time from a Maroune fellaini header to break arsenal hearts. The goal came from an Ashley young cross to fellaini who headed united in front. Man Utd saw the game out however arsenal shouldn’t feel disheartened as the young side put up a fight against United experience.
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The europa league semi-final had an electric atmosphere with both crowds buzzing for a potential step into the europa league final. Both sides came into the game on the back of some patchy European form. Arsenal drew 2-2 in Russia to put the gunners into the semis, nevertheless the score line was flattering with the gunners 2-0 down with 15 minutes to go. Atletico went through holding a 2-0 first leg lead over sporting by winning 2-1.
The fixture was very interesting for the neutral.
The encounter began with the home side on the front foot with a lot of pace on the attack with welbeck and lacazette in particular.
Within the opening ten minutes lacazette squandered a wonderful chance by hitting the post with a virtually open goal, all be it outside the box.
The opening ten minutes also included a red card to vrsajliko after two yellow card offences. Atletico were infuriated as they thought vrsaljiko had no chance before getting sent for an early bath. Amongst the cafuffle manager Diego simione voiced his opinion maybe a little to clearly as he also got sent off and went up to watch the game from the stands.
The first half consisted of persistent arsenal pressure with no end product. Main chances fell to lacazette and Danny welbeck neither of who could finish their chances.
The second half resumed a similar style of play as the first half with Arsenal’s persistence finally paying off with a lacazette header that bounced into the ground and into the back of jan oblaks net which sent the emirates into a frenzy. The goal was very important in terms of the tie as arsenal going to Madrid with a lead and having not conceded and away goal was a positive for the gunners.
Arsenal continued to pile pressure and push the Atletico defence further and further back.
After bringing on two defensive minded players in Stefan Savic and gabi Atletico got back in the game. Antoine griezemann was in a foot race with Laurent koscielny before koscielny decided a poor attempted clearance and therefore gave griezemann a clear one-on-one chance with David Ospina who denied him amazingly only to see griezemann stab rebound into the back of the net via mustafis thigh.
The games tempo died down after the late equaliser so the game finished 1-1 finely poised for the second leg in Madrid next week.