Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal: Five things we learned

Olivier Giroud’s 89th-minute header cancelled out Juan Mata’s opener midway through the second half as Manchester United and Arsenal shared the spoils at Old Trafford.

For the hosts though, the draw will feel more like a defeat considering their dominance.

Here are five things we learned from the encounter.

UNITED NEED TO CAPATALISE EARLY ON

Jose Mourinho was left scratching his head yet again. Just like their games at home against Stoke City and Burnley, United were the better team on the day but failed to secure all three points.

In the opening 20 minutes in particular, United were all over Arsenal and really should’ve made the breakthrough. However, Petr Cech denied the hosts while United’s final ball was lacking at times as well.

United have struggled to score in the first half all season and that has always seen them chasing a result in the second.

ARSENAL STILL DAUNTED BY OLD TRAFFORD STAGE

The Gunners haven’t won at Old Trafford in the Premier League in 10 years. Even though the venue lost much of its aura once Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down, Arsenal remain one of the few teams to fail to break their lean streak in the red half of Manchester.

Arsenal had just one shot on target in this one and were dominated for much of the match but managed to salvage a point. Nevertheless, their woeful form in United’s backyard continues.

MATA THE MAN FOR THE BIG OCCASION

Juan Mata is proving time and time again that he’s the star United can rely on. The Spaniard invariably pops up with crucial goals when given the nod.

He did so in the Manchester derby and delivered the goods on Saturday again.

He was instrumental in much of United’s best moves and produced a superb controlled finish for the opener.

GIROUD KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

Alexis Sanchez has been in great form as Arsenal’s frontman this season but how much longer will Arsene Wenger be able to justify leaving out Giroud?

The Frenchman is in the middle of one of his most clinical streaks. He seems to score every time he’s called upon.

The worry is that his form may just be a direct result of having his place under threat. If Wenger were to reintroduce him to the starting XI, would he peter out?

MOURINHO’S DESIRE FOR A SEASONED CB GROWS

Mourinho said after the game that his side were great defensively but conceding a goal from a cross in the 89th minute will still annoy him.

The Portuguese is reportedly expected to dip into the market for an experienced centre-back and after Giroud was allowed the luxury of a run-up to leap above Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones at the far post, a move for a seasoned defender who would recognise such a threat and lead the back-line will be on his mind.

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