Man United player ratings - David de Gea scores a 10, Jesse Lingard gets an 8

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Manchester United beat Arsenal 3-1 in a thrilling Premier League encounter at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Antonio Valencia opened the scoring for the visitors in the fourth minute while Jesse Lingard doubled their advantage in the 11th.

Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back for the Gunners in the 49th minute but some standout goalkeeping from David De Gea saw United hold out for the win despite a sending off for Paul Pogba.

Here, we rate the United players.

MANCHESTER UNITED

DAVID DE GEA: Stunning performance from the Premier League’s – and arguably the world’s – best. Saved from Lacazette and Sanchez in quick succession. 10 (out of 10).

VICTOR LINDELOF: Not alone in being caught napping for Lacazette’s goal. 6.

CHRIS SMALLING: Kept busy by Lacazette on a challenging night for defenders. 6.

MARCOS ROJO: Performed well up against Ozil and Sanchez. 6

ANTONIO VALENCIA: Took his goal well after combining with Paul Pogba down the right. 7

NEMANJA MATIC: Imposed himself in midfield to allow Pogba and Lingard to thunder forwards. 7

JESSE LINGARD: Terrier-like for his first goal and clinical for both of his strikes. 8

PAUL POGBA: Two assists as he showed his attacking brilliance. But a poor and costly challenge on Bellerin earned red and a suspension for the Manchester derby. 7

ROMELU LUKAKU: Linked well with Lingard, Pogba and Anthony Martial at times, but threatened goal rarely. 6

ANTHONY MARTIAL: Delightful pirouette for Lingard’s goal. His pace was a potent weapon throughout and he enjoys a fine understanding with Pogba. 8

ASHLEY YOUNG: Disciplined performance to allow his team-mates to flourish. 7

Manchester United

Manchester United

SUBSTITUTES

ANDER HERRERA (for Martial, 67): Gave United an additional body in midfield to protect the advantage. 5.

MATTEO DARMIAN (for Lingard, 76): Not the calming defensive presence needed in the finale. 5.

MARCUS RASHFORD (for Young, 90): A late change to take up time. 5.

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No Mourinho masterclass but timely adjustments see Man United edge thrilling win over Arsenal

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Manchester United beat Arsenal 3-1 in a thrilling Premier League encounter at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and in this Manager Microscope, we dissect the tactics that led to the result.

Antonio Valencia opened the scoring for the visitors in the fourth minute while Jesse Lingard doubled their advantage in the 11th.

Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back for the Gunners in the 49th minute but some standout goalkeeping from David De Gea saw United hold out for the win despite a sending off for Paul Pogba.

It was an Arsene Wenger vs Jose Mourinho classic and here’s an analysis of the performance of the two managers.
Basic Stats

Arsenal
Shots – 33

Shots on target – 15

Pass success – 86%

Aerial duel Success – 32%

Dribbles won – 8

Tackles – 16

Possession – 75%
Manchester United
Shots – 8

Shots on target – 4

Pass success – 66%

Aerial Duel Success – 68%

Dribbles won – 9

Tackles – 15

Possession – 25%
STARTING FORMATIONS
WENGER [3-4-3]
Arsenal remained unchanged from the team that beat Huddersfield 5-0 in midweek. Alexandre Lacazette started up front despite reports that he was set to be sidelined through injury. The Frenchman was joined by Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in a front three.

Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey were the two in central midfield, flanked by wing-backs Sead Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin. Meanwhile, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal made up the back three. Petr Cech started between the sticks.

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger


MOURINHO [3-4-3]
Like his counterpart, Mourinho opted to stick to the line-up that earned him a 4-1 win away to Watford in midfield. Romelu Lukaku led the line and was supported by Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial. Nemanja Matic shook off an injury to take his place alongside Paul Pogba in central midfield.

Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia started as wing-backs while Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo were the three centre-backs. David De Gea started in goal.

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho


TACTICAL TURNING POINTS
WENGER
Mustafi Substitution

The German made an error for the second goal, playing a loose ball that was intercepted by Lukaku. Lingard finished off the move and Mustafi seemed to have hurt himself in the process and had to come off.

With just 15 minutes on the clock, Wenger had to make a change to the system as he brought on Alex Iwobi and switched to a back four. The Nigerian took his place on the left of the three behind Lacazette.

First Half Bombardment

Having gone 2-0 down, the hosts had to attack, and attack they did. They employed a very high-line and almost camped inside United’s half.

However, poor finishing, desperate defending and a few miraculous saves from De Gea saw United go into the break with their clean sheet intact.

Second Half Substitutions

Arsenal did well to pull one goal back early in the second half and it was then much of the same. But United retained a threat on the counter and scored through Lingard again. That’s when Wenger had to take desperate measures, replacing Xhaka with Welbeck.

Pogba’s sending off a few minutes later played into his hands as well and the Frenchman threw on Giroud with Kolasinac making way. Iwobi dropped into midfield with Ramsey while Koscielny, Bellerin and Monreal made up the back three. The set-up could loosely be described as a 3-2-1-4.

All-out attack

All-out attack


MOURINHO
Reaction To Arsenal’s Switch

Once Wenger brought on Iwobi and went to four at the back, Mourinho tweaked his system as well. While retaining the same personnel, Lingard and Pogba pushed on ahead of Matic while Martial and Valencia provided the width on either side. Lindelof almost played as a right-back when United had the ball, covering for the Ecuadorian.

Without possession though, Valencia dropped back and joined a back five with Pogba or Lingard sometimes the furthest right in midfield. As a result, either one of them were the outlets when United tried to break forward down the right.

The problem however was that Matic was usually on his own trying to shield the defence and that invited Arsenal into United’s final third.

What We Have We Hold

After going 3-1 up, Mourinho predictably took off Martial for Herrera to bolster the midfield alongside Matic. Pogba sat in front of them as well with just Lingard playing off Lukaku.

Pogba Red Card

The new set-up didn’t last long though as Mourinho had to react to going down a man while Wenger threw on attackers. Kudos to Young who raced over to the Portuguese and informed him of Pogba’s dismissal before the referee could actually get the card out.

The United boss acted quickly, immediately ordering Matteo Darmian to ready himself. Lingard played in a flat midfield three with Herrera and Matic for the next few minutes with Lukaku up front on his own.

Darmian then came on for the Englishman as soon as possible, but went to the left side of a back five while Young stepped up into midfield where Lingard operated. United managed to stubbornly see out the game despite Arsenal’s constant waves of attacks.

All hands to the pump

All hands to the pump


Our verdict
WENGER
There’s no reason why Arsenal needed to be as far forward as they were from the start. Their inclination to begin on the front foot is commendable but they were susceptible at the back, often matched man-for-man in a transition.

Wenger did do all he could to get back into the game and would’ve probably thrown even more attackers on if he had more substitutions to play but that was never his downfall. Defensive naivety came back to haunt Arsenal after a run of clean sheets and that’s where the game was lost, in the opening 11 minutes.

6/10
MOURINHO
Let’s not brand this a ‘tactical masterclass’ like so many big Mourinho wins away from home are. United held out thanks to some unreal goalkeeping and last-ditch defending. However, the Portuguese did set-up his side perfectly, primed for counter from the start.

It worked like a charm every time they were afforded the opportunity to break away. What was impressive though was how soon Mourinho reacts to changes in the game. His substitutions were quick and spot on.

7/10 
Your verdict
WENGER


MOURINHO

Stats from whoscored.com

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Coutinho leads Liverpool to victory in five-star performance

Andy Sims 2/12/2017
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Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino buried Brighton to keep Liverpool’s top-four charge on track. The Brazilian duo, ably assisted by Mohamed Salah, tore the Seagulls to shreds in a thumping 5-1 victory.

Emre Can opened the scoring before Firmino added a quickfire second and then doubled his tally in the second half.

Glenn Murray pulled one back from the penalty spot but Coutinho hit the fourth and then forced an own-goal from Lewis Dunk to complete the rout.

Injuries and illness had forced Jurgen Klopp to play with two midfielders, Can and Georginio Wijnaldum, alongside his only fit centre-half, Dejan Lovren, in a makeshift back three.

But when the Reds boss has a front three in this kind of form he could probably dispense with centre-backs altogether.

Since losing heavily to Tottenham in mid-October, Klopp’s side have now taken 16 points from a possible 18.

It was not all plain sailing on the south coast, though. Liverpool’s unfamiliar rearguard got themselves into a mess after a quarter of an hour to almost gift Brighton a shock lead.

Wijnaldum’s pass was intercepted and the ball was moved out to Chelsea loanee Izzy Brown on the left wing, but Murray could not convert his cross.

At the other end Brighton were holding firm despite the constant probing of Salah and Coutinho.

So manager Chris Hughton will have been hugely frustrated that they fell behind to a regulation set-piece, Can nodding in Coutinho’s corner on the half hour.

Just 79 seconds later they conceded again, but this time it came from a ruthless assault from the Reds’ fearsome threesome.

Salah led the charge before feeding Coutinho who swept a first-time cross in behind the Brighton defence for Firmino to tap in from six yards.

Moments after half-time Brighton should have scored when Murray met another Brown cross but Simon Mignolet somehow kept the ball out at point-blank range.

And Brighton were immediately, and brutally, exposed once more as Salah went marauding up the field, taking four home defenders with him before slipping the ball to the unmarked Firmino to hit number three.

The Seagulls did get on the scoresheet when Jordan Henderson fouled Shane Duffy at a corner and Murray tucked away the penalty.

They almost set up a nervy finale when substitute Jose Izquierdo wriggled into the area but Trent Alexander-Arnold’s last-ditch challenge saved the Reds.

Instead Coutinho secured the points when he cheekily rolled a free-kick under the wall, and then saw his shot deflected in by Dunk to complete the scoring.

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