MX23RW : Thursday, December 13 00:10:54

Live Commentary: Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage as Manchester United and Arsenal play out a 2-2 draw in Wednesday's Premier League clash at Old Trafford.
Live Commentary: Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal - as it happened
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Manchester United and Arsenal have played out a 2-2 draw in Wednesday's Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

Shkodran Mustafi gave Arsenal the lead in the 26th minute, but Anthony Martial quickly found an equaliser for the home side.

Substitute Alexandre Lacazette put the Gunners back in front after the break, but Jesse Lingard netted an instant leveller to give United a share of the spoils.

Find out how all of the action unfolded in the North-West courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.


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7.00pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the match in the Premier League between Manchester United and Arsenal. This fixture has been played to determine league titles in the past but on this occasion, it's simply about both clubs trying to strengthen their bid for a top-four position. How times have changed!

7.02pmWithout further ado, let's take a look at the two starting lineups, beginning with the home side...

7.04pmMANCHESTER UNITED XI: De Gea; Bailly, Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Dalot, Herrera, Matic, Darmian; Lingard, Rashford, Martial

MANCHESTER UNITED SUBSTITUTES: Romero, Valencia, Fellaini, Mata, McTominay, Pogba, Lukaku


7.06pmARSENAL XI: Leno; Sokratis, Mustafi, Holding; Bellerin, Torreira, Guendouzi, Kolasinac; Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang

ARSENAL SUBSTITUTES: Cech, Lichtsteiner, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Nketiah, Lacazette


7.08pmLet's start with United and it appears that Jose Mourinho has opted for a change in formation to match Arsenal's 3-4-3 strategy. That has resulted in both Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku dropping down to the substitutes' bench.

7.10pmMourinho has decided to select five defenders, which should see Diogo Dalot and Matteo Darmian feature in the wing-back positions. Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo have been provided with rare starts, while Chris Smalling has recovered from the injury which kept him out of the game at Southampton.

7.12pmNemanja Matic and Ander Herrera have been given duties in the middle of the park, with Jesse Lingard likely to drop back when Arsenal are in possession. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford also form part of the attack.

7.14pmIt's an extremely offensive-minded bench with Antonio Valencia being the only defender. Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata are also options, but there is no place in the squad for summer signing Fred. Ashley Young misses out through suspension.

7.16pmAs for Arsenal, Unai Emery has decided to make just the two alterations to the side which began the win over North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. One is enforced due to Granit Xhaka's ban, and it has resulted in Matteo Guendouzi being brought into team.

7.18pmThe other sees Aaron Ramsey being preferred to Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Wales international is due to leave Arsenal at the end of the season, but the playmaker has recorded the most assists in the Premier League during the current campaign.

7.20pmEmery would have hoped to have Mesut Ozil available again after the German was missing from the weekend's fixture due to back spasms, but there is no place in the 18-man squad for the playmaker.

7.22pmArsenal still have plenty of options on the bench, including Alexandre Lacazette. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mohamed Elneny also feature, but the game has come too soon for Nacho Monreal, who has recently returned to training.

7.24pmUnited head into this game sitting in eighth position in the Premier League standings and while they are just a point adrift of sixth-placed Bournemouth, there are just two points separating the North-West giants and 11th-placed Watford.

Arsenal are in spot and depending on the results of Chelsea and Spurs, could go as high as third or as low as fifth.


7.26pmInteresting choice of captain for Arsenal this evening...



7.28pmUnited were known for their clean sheets in the Premier League last season but at the start of this week, Mourinho's side had the sixth-worst defensive record with 23 goals being shipped in 14 matches.

7.30pmThe North-West giants have also been conceding far too many goals in the opening 15 minutes of games. As many as six goals have been let in during that period.

7.32pmUnited have also gone three league games without success for the first time in 12 months. This is a huge match for the club and Mourinho for a number of reasons.

7.34pmThe club have only suffered one home defeat in the Premier League this season, but they have only played six times at Old Trafford. The same can be said of Arsenal on the road.

7.36pmSuch have been Mourinho's struggles that he has already used 23 players in the top flight this season. As many as 22 have started - and the inclusions of Dalot and Rojo take that tally to 24.

7.38pmIn sharp contrast, Arsenal head into this game with the chance to get to 16 points from away games this season. That would match their efforts for the whole of the last campaign!

7.40pmThey are also 12 games unbeaten in the Premier League and 19 in all competitions. It has been a phenomenal recovery from a side who lost their opening two fixtures under Emery, but the Spaniard will be judged on results in games like the one this evening.

7.42pmIt has been well-documented that the Gunners are yet to hold a half-time lead in the Premier League this season but on the flipside, they have scored 24 times after the break. It's a division high.

7.44pmHowever, like United, Arsenal have struggled for clean sheets. They have kept just two in the top flight since the beginning of the season, which came at home to Everton and Watford respectively.

7.46pmIt's a wet night in Manchester (when is it not?) and here are a few of the players and a club legend arriving at Old Trafford.



7.48pmPREDICTION! Manchester United have struggled at Old Trafford this season, but the visit of Arsenal could be the match to spark them into action. Arsenal are full of confidence ahead of this contest but with United having more preparation time for this fixture, we feel that an entertaining 2-2 draw is the most likely result.

7.50pmHEAD TO HEAD! Tonight's encounter will represent the 228th competitive clash between the two clubs, with United having won 98 times in comparison to 82 wins for Arsenal.

7.52pmNeither team has put together three successive wins in this fixture since United did between August 2011 and November 2012, but Mourinho's side can achieve that tonight. Arsenal have not won at Old Trafford in the Premier League since 2006, although they did prevail in an FA Cup tie as recently as 2015.

7.54pmWe are also providing coverage of Chelsea's fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers this evening. You can follow that contest by clicking here.

7.56pmIt's time for the two teams to start making their way out at Old Trafford. There's an expectant atmosphere this evening, with United fans demanding improvements and Arsenal's travelling faithful anticipating another positive result.

7.58pmA reminder of the two starting lineups...

MANCHESTER UNITED XI: De Gea; Bailly, Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Dalot, Herrera, Matic, Darmian; Lingard, Rashford, Martial

ARSENAL XI: Leno; Sokratis, Mustafi, Holding; Bellerin, Torreira, Guendouzi, Kolasinac; Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang


1 minKICKOFF:  Arsenal get us underway!

3 minIt's been a quiet start from both sides, although United have had the one break forward with Rashford failing to pick out a teammate with a through-ball.

5 minSHOT!  Mourinho appears to have got his message across because his players are playing at a high pace. Rashford takes his chance to get a shot on goal from distance, but his well-struck effort from 25 yards is straight at Leno.

7 minArsenal are finally starting to get their foot on the ball, but United are doing their best to close their opponents down and keep them in their own defensive third.

9 minMartial wins a corner on the left and it's a chance for United's backline to get forward. However, the set piece is played short and eventually comes to nothing.

11 minUnited have been the better side during the early stages, but Arsenal are beginning to warm into this. No more shots to speak of, but it's been an entertaining opening.

13 minSHOT!  The home side surge forward through Martial and the Frenchman has options either side. However, he instead tries a speculative effort from 25 yards which is easily claimed by Leno.

15 minBetter from the visitors who manage to get Iwobi down the left, but a defender comes across to divert his cross behind for a corner.

17 minNothing came from the resulting corner, but it was at least a show of intent from Arsenal. The likes of Dalot and Darmian have been allowed to spend too much time in attacking areas.

19 minThat constant pressing from United has stopped now and Arsenal are now able to dictate play and put together moves from the back. They look settled while United are prepared to take a breather.

20 minArsenal are getting closer and again, it's down the left. Kolasinac drills in a low cross and although Smalling can only half-clear the ball, Darmian is well positioned on the far side.

22 minThe visitors are fixating on trying to isolate Dalot and their tactics are working. The defender gets a good tackle in on this occasion but more often than not, it's two on one.

24 minIt's been all Arsenal over the last five or six minutes. They are still to get a threatening shot away, but they are making all of the running.

26 minGOAL!  Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal (Shkodran Mustafi)

26 minArsenal take the lead and the defending and goalkeeping is abysmal. Mustafi mistimes a free header from a corner and it should be easy work for De Gea, However, the Spaniard fumbles the ball behind him and it goes just over the line, despite the best efforts of a defender.

28 minUnited started this game on the front foot but within a quarter-of-an-hour, that had changed. Arsenal deserve their lead and it's now up to the home side to deliver a response.

30 minGOAL!  Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal (Anthony Martial)

30 minThere is your response. A free kick from Rojo is well saved by Leno but Herrera is able to get the ball back across goal for Martial to fire home from close range. Herrera was probably marginally offside, but the goal stands!

32 minWe are going to have a break in play while Holding receives treatment on the sidelines. Both sets of players are probably pleased for the stoppage!

34 minPlay is back underway while Holding continues to receive treatment and it looks like Arsenal are going to have to make a change. That's a big blow for the visitors.

36 minArsenal win a corner on the right but it comes to nothing. The set piece had come from Ramsey having a shot deflected wide of the target.

36 minSUBSTITUTION! Lichtsteiner has been introduced for Holding and has taken his place on the right side of a back three.

37 minYELLOW CARD!  Mustafi goes into the book for a foul on Rashford as the England international attempted to cut inside on the byline. Easy decision for the referee.

38 minYELLOW CARD!  Rojo is also yellow carded for a late challenge on Guendouzi, who was trying to clear the ball from out of the penalty area.

40 minYELLOW CARD!  Now Lingard is cautioned for a cynical trip on Torreira. Things are heating up!

41 minYELLOW CARD!  This is unbelievable. Bellerin now enters the book for a foul on the right flank!

42 minYELLOW CARD!  Anyone for another yellow card? Here you go. Matic tugs the shirt of Aubameyang to halt a counter-attack and it is a fifth yellow card in six minutes.

44 minJust the minute to go until half time now. I think both teams will be happy to hear the whistle so that emotions can cool down.

45+1 minThere will be three minutes of added-on time.

45+3 minRamsey is really struggling with a knock picked up in a recent tackle. I think Emery will give it until the break to make a decision on the Wales international.

45+3 minHALF TIME:  Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal

8.51pmThe half-time whistle goes at Old Trafford and the two teams are locked at a 1-1 scoreline. Both sides have had their moments and being level is probably fair at this stage.

8.57pmArsenal took the lead in calamitous circumstances. Mustafi was able to free himself of his marker at a corner but the German miscued a header straight at De Gea. However, the Spaniard somehow managed to fumble the ball behind him and just over the line.

It took United just four minutes to equalise. Leno did well to save a free kick from Rojo but Herrera was quickest to react and after the ball was sent back into the danger area, Martial had the easy job of firing into the net from six yards out.


9.03pmThe two teams are back out for the second half. Ramsey has failed to shake off his knock, so Mkhitaryan has been introduced.

46 minKICKOFF:  United get us back underway.

48 minThere's not a lot to report from the opening stages of the second half. Kolasinac thought that he should have won a corner having got into the penalty area, but the referee disagreed.

50 minBoth teams are trying to create something going forward but the defences are on top at this stage. United are doing their best to step up, however. That wasn't the case during the second quarter of the first half.

52 minMore of the same from both teams. It's taking a while for the two sides to get into their stride again. United are showing more ambition at this stage.

54 minYet another injury for Arsenal, this time for Torreira. This would be disastrous. However, the Uruguayan enforcer is back on his feet. Remember that Arsenal only have one more substitution.

56 minIt's all United now. Dalot is released down the right flank and he has plenty of time to pick out a teammate. The wing-back probably has too much because he can only find the first man.

58 minEmery has just one alteration up his sleeve. If he had more, you would think that he would tinker with his team because they are simply second best now. Mourinho has plenty of options in reserve too.

59 minSHOT!  Rojo is given the chance to get a shot away from distance and the Argentine sees an effort tipped over the bar by Leno. The ball was heading over, but the goalkeeper helped it on its way.

61 minBetter from Arsenal who again target the left flank to get forward. Nothing comes from it, but it at least makes United think for a few seconds. That hadn't been the case for about 10 minutes.

63 minSUBSTITUTION! United have an injury concern now and it sees Lukaku replace Martial.

64 minSUBSTITUTION! Emery is not hanging around. Lacazette is introduced into the action and Iwobi makes way.

66 minThe action has slowed down a touch now, which is most definitely to Arsenal's liking. They need a period to regroup and to find the right balance. Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang will not do the same defensive work as Ramsey and Iwobi.

68 minGOAL!  Manchester United 1-2 Arsenal (Alexandre Lacazette)

68 minThe visitors retake the lead and again, it's a weird one. Lacazette plays a one-two with Mkhitaryan and although Rojo gets across to prevent the shot, he can only kick the ball against the Frenchman and the ball finds the bottom corner!

69 minGOAL!  Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal (Jesse Lingard)

69 minSome of the defending in this game has been appalling and it's no different here. Straight from the kickoff, the ball is sent forward and after Kolasinac diverts the ball back towards his own goal, Lingard reacts fastest to poke a shot past Leno!

72 minCHANCE!  Arsenal squander two chances to go back in front! Aubameyang should convert from six yards after meeting Kolasinac's cross, only for De Gea to stick out a leg, and then Mkhitaryan somehow fires over from three yards out!

74 minSUBSTITUTION! A second alteration from United sees Fellaini come on for Rojo.

75 minSHOT!  There surely has to be another goal in this game. Aubameyang attempts to find the far corner with a long-range curler, but De Gea gets across to parry the ball away.

76 minSUBSTITUTION! United make a third change and Pogba is on for Lingard.

78 minArsenal are showing the greater intent to win this match but it is giving United more space at the back. I really cannot see this remaining 2-2.

80 minAs I say that, United start to launch the ball into the penalty area in the hope of getting Lukaku into the action. The Belgian has not really been involved since his introduction.

82 minArsenal are winning the midfield battle at this stage, and it's probably why United are taking the direct approach. Eight to go. Still no more chances.

84 minThe chances have dried up since I mentioned that there will surely be another goal. I will keep my mouth shut. United are in possession now, but in their own half.

86 minSHOT!  Rashford takes it upon himself to get a shot away from 30 yards out, but the strike is straight at Leno.

87 minFellaini has just pulled the hair of Guendouzi. There is clearly some jealousy there. Nothing comes from the resulting set piece.

89 minThis game is petering out a little now. I think both teams will be content with a point, if that is how it stays.

90 minCHANCE!  Arsenal put together a fine move down the right with Mkhitaryan deceiving two players before crossing for Torreira, who sees a first-time effort well saved by De Gea. Mkhitaryan produces the most brilliant of finishes from the rebound but he is a yard offside.

90+1 minThere will be four minutes of added-on time.

90+3 minBailly is down with cramp. It's not really a surprise given his lack of appearances.

90+6 minFULL TIME:  Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal

9.57pmThe full-time whistle goes at Old Trafford and the two teams have played out a 2-2 draw. Arsenal will be disappointed having twice led and created the better opportunities, but United were probably deserving of a point.

10.00pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us this evening and we hope to see you again soon.

If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.


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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette celebrate Arsenal's opening goal in the win over Everton on September 23, 2018
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Combined XI: Man Utd vs. Arsenal
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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