Reenergised Manchester United show what they're capable of in scrappy draw with Arsenal
Why can't they do this every week?
Manchester United came firing out the blocks this evening, desperate to make up for their frankly unacceptable performance against Southampton at the weekend. A rotated starting XI, which did not feature Romelu Lukaku or Paul Pogba, pressed high - and well - from the first minute, and it worked.
Arsenal took the lead through a Mustafi header, as David De Gea did his best Jordan Pickford impression to fumble the ball inches over the line, with Ander Herrera unable to clear it in time. But United's response spoke volumes. They did not drop their heads, but continued to press high and move the ball quickly, something we are not used to seeing from José Mourinho's United.
The home side were rewarded with an equaliser just four minutes later, as Anthony Martial slotted home a cut-back from Herrera which should have been cleared before it reached the Frenchman.
Arsenal then regained the lead through a deflected Alexandre Lacazette goal, his second of that nature in two games, but United once again came straight back at them and drew level after a defensive mixed up allowed Jesse Lingard to squeeze through the Arsenal defence and poke the ball past Berndt Leno.
It was end to end stuff, played at a high tempo. It was chaotic, reminiscent of the clashes between these sides in the mid noughties. It showed a different side to United that far too seldom shows itself, which begs the question: why?
Why do United only turn up like this once in a blue moon? Why must they concede the first goal before they come alive in attack?
Mourinho must be given some credit for tonight's performance, but must also be criticised for not being able to make such a performance more regular.
The divide between the players and the manager at Old Trafford was more clear than ever after United's draw at St Mary's, and tonight's performance yet again papers over the huge cracks in this team. The squad are evidently capable of playing good, attacking football. But something probably has to change if it is to happen more than once every two months.