Football

Manchester United need forwards to be prolific: Solskjaer

Attacking quartet have scored just once in Red Devils' last 5 league games

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United's forwards need to be more clinical after a 0-0 draw at an under-strength Arsenal dealt a second setback to their English Premier League title challenge in four days.

United threw away top spot with a shock 2-1 defeat by bottom club Sheffield United last week and are now three points adrift of league leaders Manchester City, having played a game more than their local rivals.

The quartet of Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes have now scored just once in United's last five league games.

Cavani was the biggest threat for the visitors with two second-half efforts that flew just wide, but Arsenal were worthy of at least a point despite missing Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kieran Tierney.

"We come away with a clean sheet and we had good chances," said Solskjaer.

"We need to get our forwards firing again. That's the next step now. We need to be more clinical and get them going again."

A point does at least maintain United's long unbeaten away run in the league, which now stands at 18 games, bettering the previous club record held by Sir Alex Ferguson's 1999 Treble-winning team.

Arsenal edged to within six points of the top four and it was the Gunners who came closest to scoring when Alexandre Lacazette's free-kick struck the bar in the second half.

"The fact we had three of our best players out probably has an impact, but I'm really happy with those who played today," said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

"In the second half, we were so dominant and had some big chances to win it."

TOP-SIX RIVALS

Unlike the early days of Solskjaer's reign, when United routinely counter-attacked to great effect against stronger opponents, it is against their traditional top-six rivals that the Red Devils' challenge for a first league title since 2013 has faltered.

United have yet to beat any of City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea or Arsenal in the league in six attempts this season.

After winning at Old Trafford three months ago, the Gunners went seven league games without a victory, but have bounced back in recent weeks.

Arteta's men are now unbeaten in seven to move back into contention for a top-four finish, but will rue missing their chances in the second half to take all three points.

Tierney and Saka were injured, while Aubameyang was absent for the third consecutive game as he has had to quarantine after travelling back from visiting his ill mother.

Arsenal visit Wolverhampton Wanderers, while United host Southampton on Wednesday morning (Singapore time). - AFP

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