The mad dogs set the tone
United’s players hardly needed any extra motivation for the visit of Arsenal and they set the tone for a committed display right from kick-off.
As was the case against Spurs in August, United’s last big league game at Old Trafford, there was plenty of energy, aggression and intent as United pressed high and snapped at Arsenal’s heels.
After Jose Mourinho lamented the lack of ‘mad dogs’ in his side at Southampton, guys who ‘bite the ball all the time and press all the time’, United’s players looked like they had a point to prove. Three players even ended up in the book in the first-half!
The home support, Tyson Fury among them, grew louder with every sprint and interception and this was a performance full of heart and commitment, personified by Ander Herrera.
The key for United now is to build on it against Fulham on Saturday.
Players push through pain barrier
On the eve of this game, Mourinho claimed he only had three fully fit defenders – Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian and Diogo Dalot – so he will have been heartened how Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Antonio Valencia all made themselves available for the visit of Arsenal.
Crisis, what crisis?! United’s defending for both goals left a lot to be desired but given how little football the back five had played this season, it was an otherwise admirable showing.
No matter how much work United seem to do in the video analysis room and on the training field at Carrington, set-pieces continue to cause them untold problems.