Embattled Europa League rivals Manchester United and Arsenal battled to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford after poor weather conditions and poorer players made it a rather sloppy affair between once great English sides.
A dragging first half that required firing up the coffeemaker, eventually saw a lot of action in the final five minutes of play. United first threatened on the attack when Paul Pogba bulldozed fellow Frenchman Matteo Guendouzi in midfield. The United talisman gathered the ball quickly and weighted a pass perfectly up to Marcus Rashford. However, the forward couldn’t decide what to do and eventually stumbled over his feet and the ball to waste the chance.
Two minutes later as the fourth official prepared to announce added time, United’s prayers for a goal they didn’t deserve was delivered by the unlikely foot of Scott McTominay. Initially, Daniel James raced up the right wing on a counter attack before placing a ball across the goal mouth to Rashford. Dissatisfied with the angle, Rashford played the ball back to the top of the box that found McTominay. The Scot fired his attempt that took the entire Arsenal team by surprise and the strike found the back of the net as every man in a yellow jersey just watched it fly.
The lead would not last deep into the second half.
A lapse in judgment on United’s defensive end found the one Arsenal player that you can’t leave in space, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in space with the ball. The sideline judge raised the flag signalling offside as Aubameyang gained possession and every United player stopped playing while Aubameyang decided to casually shoot the ball into the back of the net. Head official Kevin Friend referred to the Video Assistant Referee, and the VAR officials found on the replay that Aubameyang was very much onside and therefore his goal was ruled legal.
An odd cast of characters tried to save the win for the Reds with the likes of McTominay and Harry Maguire having real attempts on goal, but they could not unlock Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno for a second time. Luckily for United, Arsenal were as dysfunctional in play as United and the match held at 1-1 until the final whistle.
The draw allowed United to move up from 11th and back into the top half of the table at 10th. However, it marks only the ninth point earned in their last seven Premier League matches. Now, United have a quick turnaround with a Europa League fixture on Thursday, Oct. 3 at AZ Alkmaar and a league fixture at Newcastle United on Sunday, Oct. 6. Following the match with the Magpies, United, mercifully, will have the international break to think about what new ways they want to disappoint fans next.