Manchester United and Arsenal – two great teams with the recent history of a slump in form. Both the teams have been inconsistent, even though, Manchester United have had moments to relish last year, Arsenal hardly experienced such. Unai Emery paved the way for Mikel Arteta and in his first out as the manager of the Gunners, his boys showed promise against the Blues. The positive outcomes were just around the corner and it came on the 1st January of 2020 – a morale-boosting victory against Manchester United.

Arsenal’s victory, their first victory at home since October 2019 and Man United lost to big 6 oppositions for the first time this season. It was after a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates last season that Solskjaer’s brilliant run of 12 Premier League games unbeaten ended since taking over from Jose Mourinho. United would win only twice again all season. Ole was left to ponder what could have been only if he had a bit more intent on the midfield.

Indeed, the game was won at the midfield. Arsenal’s midfield rediscovered their since the match against Chelsea and it was at it’s very best against the Red Devils. Mesut Ozil had been the commander in chief at the centre of the park. He ran the game as a genuine number 10 as Arsenal’s aggressive intent continued to baffle Man United. Ozil’s control over the ball reminded the days when he was dubbed as one of the upcoming legends of last decade alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – how the complexion of a team changes when the number 10 plays the way he should!

Then the plan to start with Nicolas Pepe alongside Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre‑Emerick Aubameyang hinted of different wind. Arteta wants to attack and test the opposition backline. Arteta kept on observing each and every move from the dugout like a man possessed by task – a man who wants to turn things around for the Gunners.

Pepe shone – picked the left side of Man United’s defence better than others. Luke Shaw just could not cope as Pepe ran through. While the players upfront looked to press freely than before their freedom was ensured by a backline, which more often had been the reason to panic. Arteta, like other coaches, know very well how important it is to build a solid defence to ensure better results. Any sort of loopholes at the backline hampers the progress.

Still, Arteta has a long way to go. But the Arsenal fans can be optimistic with the displays against Chelsea and Manchester United. At least the Gunners play with a purpose and they might not experience just a solitary win in 15 matches in coming days.

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