Football

Solskjaer urges Man United to learn from clinical Aubameyang

EPL
MANCHESTER UNITED ARSENAL
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(Scott McTominay 45) (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 58)

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer encouraged his forward players to learn from the killer touch of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the Arsenal striker secured a 1-1 draw for the Gunners at Old Trafford on Tuesday morning (Oct 1, Singapore time).

United have now won just two of their first seven English Premier League games of the season and again paid for their inability to convert their chances other than a long-range strike from Scott McTominay just before half-time.

Solskjaer’s side have failed to score more than once in any game since the opening day of the season.

“We go 1-0 up and then we don’t get the second goal that we want to get. That’s the learning now for this time,” said Solskjaer, whose side are languishing 10th in the table.

“Be more cynical, clinical. There are so many games we have been 1-0 up.

“We will learn. We are at the start of building something. It’s just a bit disappointing that we can’t get that second goal.”

Aubameyang was not even distracted by an erroneous offside flag that initially ruled his goal out just before the hour mark.

However, the goal was given after a VAR review with the Gabon international clearly played onside by Harry Maguire.

Aubameyang has now scored eight goals in eight games this season, including seven in the EPL.

“Seven now in seven games, so that’s clinical,” said Solskjaer admiringly of Aubameyang.

“You think at the time maybe Harry managed to get out, but it was a few yards onside and a good finish.”

MCTOMINAY STRIKE

Scott McTominay’s stunning strike to give United the lead was a rare moment of quality in a poor first half.

A point is enough to edge Arsenal back into the top four on goal difference and maintain their three-point advantage over United.

For many years, the clashes between these sides were the EPL’s marquee fixtures. United and Arsenal were the champions of England for nine consecutive seasons between 1996 and 2004.

However, the fact the were facing off a Monday night in the UK because neither are in Champions League action later this week was reflected in a first 45 minutes devoid of quality.

It took 28 minutes for either goalkeeper to be tested as Arsenal’s Bernd Leno saved well low to his left to deny Andreas Pereira after a solo run.

United have not scored more than one goal in any match since the opening day of the season and, even against an Arsenal defence that had conceded nine goals in their last four league games, looked toothless when not afforded space to counter-attack into.

Arsenal, though, played right into the hosts' hands in the final five minutes of the first half.

Firstly, Marcus Rashford wasted a huge chance when played in behind by Paul Pogba’s through-ball with the Gunners furiously protesting for a free-kick against the Frenchman as he dispossessed Matteo Guendouzi.

Arsenal then had the chance to strike on the counter-attack themselves as from a United corner, the visitors burst forward through Bukayo Saka and, after his effort was palmed away by David de Gea, the Spaniard got back in position to block Guendouzi’s follow-up effort.

But from the resulting corner, it was United who took the lead.

Daniel James led the counter from one end of the field to the other and, after his cross just evaded Rashford, the England international cut the ball back to the edge of the box where McTominay smashed into the top corner.

That was the first goal United had scored from open play at home in the first half this season.

But they soon needed a second as Arsenal struck back after the break, thanks to VAR.

Saka pounced on a loose pass deep inside the United half and fed Aubameyang, who had been flagged offside, before dinking the ball past de Gea.

ONSIDE

However, replays showed he was clearly played onside by Harry Maguire and his eighth goal of the season was allowed to stand.

Seconds later, Unai Emery’s men were unlucky not to be in front when Saka’s shot from Callum Chambers’ cross was deflected just over by Victor Lindelof.

Attack looked like the best form of defence for Arsenal as their backline never looked comfortable at holding out for a point.

Pogba fired inches wide from the edge of the area before McTominay somehow didn’t score his second of the night with a free header six metres out from a corner.

Leno produced a fine save to turn a piledriver from Maguire over as the world’s most expensive defender tried to atone for his earlier error.

But the German goalkeeper’s best save of the evening came at the death as he flew to his left to turn Rashford’s powerful free-kick to safety. – AFP

Manchester UnitedarsenalPierre-Emerick AubameyangOle Gunnar Solskjaer