Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP)
Jose Mourinho accused his Manchester United players of shooting
themselves in the foot as he saw his under-strength team gift
Arsenal two goals in a 2-2 draw that extended their winless
Premier League run to four games.
United, who started with Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku on the
bench, showed great spirit to twice come back, with equalisers
from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard earning a much-needed
But, after a defeat at Manchester City and dispiriting draws with
Crystal Palace and Southampton, United are now 18 points behind
leaders City and actually closer to the relegation positions than
they are first place.
United also trail Chelsea and Arsenal, who are now unbeaten in 20
games, by eight points in the battle for a place in the top four.
And Mourinho, who saw a bad David de Gea error and Marcos Rojo
own goal twice hand Arsenal the lead, believes the performance
continued their run of self-inflicted harm.
â€œWe scored four goals and we drew 2-2,â€ joked Mourinho.
â€œBut we scored four goals and even in matches like today where
we play well, we always shoot ourselves.
â€œSometimes we miss chances with an open goal, other times
defensive mistakes but tonight there was a fantastic spirit, good
â€œOur problem is finding a performance like this without the
mistakes we made and we had very good performances where we make
mistakes and we are always punished.â€
Mourinhoâ€™s frustration was especially understandable given that
Arsenalâ€™s opening goal, after 26 minutes, featured that rarest
of collectorâ€™s items, a mistake by his Spanish international
goalkeeper David de Gea.
Chris Smalling slipped at Lucas Torreiraâ€™s 26th minute corner,
allowing Mustafi the space to send a free header bouncing into
the ground and goalwards.
It looked a routine save for Unitedâ€™s number one but he
succeeded only in pushing the ball into the air, two-handed, over
his own head and over the goalline, despite Ander Herreraâ€™s
But United responded within four minutes as Rojo, playing for the
first time this season, unleashed a terrific free-kick which
Bernd Leno kept out at the foot of his left-hand post.
Herrera responded quickly, although replays suggested he may have
been fractionally offside, reaching the loose ball on the by-line
and turning it into the six-yard area where Martial was able to
That dramatic pattern would be repeated after 68 minutes when
Arsenal regained a lead they could only hold, on this occasion,
for 74 seconds.
Lacazette played a one-two with fellow substitute Henrikh
Mkhitaryan and advanced into the area where Rojo tackled him from
behind and succeeded only in turning the ball into his own net.
But there could be no faulting Unitedâ€™s response as Arsenal
panicked at a long ball punted forward, almost directly from
Lukaku caused uncertainty in the visitorsâ€™ area and as Sead
Kolasinac tried to turn the ball back to his goalkeeper, he
allowed Lingard to ghost in and complete a simple finish past
Error-strewn as it might have been, there could be no faulting
the entertainment in the first Manchester United-Arsenal fixture
since 1986 to take place without either Sir Alex Ferguson or
Arsene Wenger in one of the dug-outs.
De Gea made amends for his first-half error with two fine saves
to deny in-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with Mkhitaryan also
wasting a good close-range chance in between.
Neither Mkhitaryan nor the injured Alexis Sanchez have shone
since a January swap deal between the clubs, but only the offside
flag denied the Armenian coming back to haunt United in stoppage
time when he rifled home after another decent De Gea stop from
â€œI am proud of my players and the second half gives us
confidence,â€ said Arsenal manager Unai Emery.
â€œWe controlled the game and if one team deserved to win, we did