Arsenal and Manchester United played out a 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, as the visitors continued their unbeaten away
Manchester United set a new club record of 18 away Premier League games unbeaten as they held on for a 0-0 draw at depleted Arsenal on Saturday.
United failed to bounce back from the shock midweek home loss to Sheffield United with a victory, but at least preserved their fine run on the road, breaking a record set by Alex Ferguson’s treble winners.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men had the better of the first half but failed to make the most of being in the ascendancy and Arsenal improved significantly after the break.
Alexandre Lacazette went closest for the Gunners when he struck the crossbar with a free-kick and David de Gea denied Emile Smith Rowe, with second-placed United ultimately having to settle for a point against an Arsenal side missing a host of first-team regulars.
Arsenal initially posed the greater threat but the visitors soon began to win the midfield battle, the better chances falling United’s way as a result.
Fred’s controlled volley in the 20th minute forced Bernd Leno to desperately hurl himself across his line to tip wide, before Aaron Wan-Bissaka headed wide from a brilliant position after meeting Luke Shaw’s cross.
Bruno Fernandes then blasted off target after beating David Luiz in the box, and although United subsequently lost Scott McTominay to an apparent stomach issue, they remained in control.
Another Shaw cross fell kindly for Marcus Rashford just before the interval, but the striker did not react quickly enough and Arsenal crowded him out before he could pull the trigger.
Willian was introduced for Gabriel Martinelli at half-time and nearly made an immediate impact, only for Wan-Bissaka to make a crucial block to deny him.
An even better opportunity fell to Edinson Cavani soon after, the Uruguayan somehow shooting wide from close range after Shaw’s low delivery, that was a rare moment of second-half respite for United as Arsenal started to dominate.
A Lacazette free-kick just past the hour caused panic for United as it crashed against the crossbar, and De Gea had to be alert soon after to save a stinging Smith Rowe attempt.
Cavani went agonisingly close again late on with an acrobatic attempt and that proved to be the final clear-cut chance in a match devoid of clinical finishing.
What does it mean? United lose ground as they come up short again
While it might ordinarily be harsh to suggest United should be disappointed with a draw away to an in-form Arsenal side, Mikel Arteta was without numerous key men, including Kieran Tierney, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka.
United’s creative players were largely disappointing, with full-backs Shaw and Wan-Bissaka their most promising routes to goal, and the Red Devils’ finishing let them down.
That is one point from a possible six in two games for United, whose title challenge is already beginning to look like a red herring given Manchester City have won 12 on the bounce and now sit three points clear with a game in hand.
A Shaw thing
Much has been said of late regarding Shaw’s improvement and he was a solid performer once again. The left-back’s tally of three key passes was not bettered by anyone else on the pitch and he always had an aura of positivity around him when on the ball.
Cavani can’t convert
The experienced Cavani was given the nod up front ahead of Anthony Martial, but missed glorious opportunities from his only two shots. You would expect a player of his calibre to have converted at least one.
Arsenal go to Wolves on Tuesday, while United play host to Southampton later on the same day.