We put in a dominant display to steamroll over Manchester United this past Sunday afternoon, racing into an early lead. We then showed defensive stability under a bit of pressure, and kept a clean sheet as we ran out more than comfortable 3-0 winners.
When the lineups were announced, there were no real surprises. Injuries had forced Arsene Wenger’s hand for the most part, and we put out our strongest possible starting XI.
It was a lightning start, and we were putting pressure on right from the off. Man United looked incapable of dealing with the tempo and the pace of our passing, and we very quickly broke the deadlock.
Hector Bellerin got forward with the ball, providing some much needed width. The attack threatened to break down, but Francis Coquelin’s willingness and desire to win the ball back kept it alive. A few quick passes saw Mesut Özil break to the byline, cutting back for Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean has been in fine goalscoring form recently, and flicked the ball superbly past a helpless David de Gea. 1-0.
Hopefully you didn’t blink in the wake of Alexis’ opener, because if you did you may have missed our second. 33 seconds from kick off and we doubled our lead, Mesut Özil grabbing his first goal of the season.
Theo Walcott made a superb run into the box, but the Man United defence looked to get back and organised quickly. The Englishman remained composed on the ball however, and picked out Özil for a relatively simple finish. 2-0.
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Manchester United looked shell shocked, and we continued to dominate the game. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil, and Theo Walcott were on fire, and it seemed inevitable that we would extend our lead.
Alexis was the man to do so, and his strike showed he’s really back on form. He cut in onto his right foot as he loves to do so, skipping past several United defenders. He lashed the ball past David de Gea, and it flew into the top corner. 3-0.
Aaron Ramsey should have made it 4-0 after more great work from Alexis, but he took his shot first time when he really didn’t need to, shanking his shot high and wide when it seemed easier to score.
United crafted a couple of half chances towards the end of the first half, with Anthony Martial looking dangerous. He shrugged off Per Mertesacker far too easily, and spun to get his shot away. He was denied by a phenomenal reflex save from Petr Cech however, who showed just how important having a top quality shot-stopper is – going into half time at 3-1 could have changed things drastically.
Louis van Gaal made several changes in the second half, and Manchester United enjoyed much more of the ball – dominating the midfield in particular. We remained defensively solid though, United were unable to break through.
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Both teams created a number of chances, but neither were able to add to the scoreline. We put in a fantastic team performance throughout the 90 minutes, and leapfrogged United into second place.