Ander Herrera: I'll 'do Everything Possible' To Stop David De Gea Leaving
Backed by statistics showing that Arsenal had just had 33 shots and 75 per cent of possession, it was inevitable that Arsene Wenger should focus on a lack of attacking “efficiency” when explaining how they had somehow contrived to lose.
Inevitable, but surely also misguided. Arsenal might have been excellent for most of the match but to understand why they are already out of a Premier League title race they have not won for 13 years, you actually needed only to watch the first 11 minutes.
For everything that followed – Manchester United soaking up such pressure and Arsenal playing with an often scintillating attacking freedom – flowed from how they had already gifted their opponents two goals.
The entire tone of the match was set and, while an extraordinary recovery often looked possible, the carelessness of centre-backs Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi trumped Alexandre Lacazette’s second-half consolation. Indeed, with Jesse Lingard twice finishing so clinically and Antonio Valencia punishing Arsenal with a finish that went through the legs of both Nacho Monreal and Petr Cech, the most relevant statistic was actually how United managed three goals from four shots on target.
That and the 14 saves that David de Gea made to equal a Premier League record. Jose Mourinho said that he was the best goalkeeper in the world and few at the Emirates on Saturday were arguing. He was also delighted by his team’s character and, with United having at least a two goal cushion for so much of the game, it would be straw-clutching for Arsenal to take too many positives. United may have adapted and played very differently had Arsenal ever equalised.