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Careless mistakes from Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny doom Arsenal

In general, there's little doubt that Arsenal were the better team, dominating possession, taking 33 shots to Manchester United's eight, but horrendous defensive errors cost them three points at the Emirates on Saturday evening.

Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi were culpable for the first two goals, leaving the Gunners 2-0 down after just 11 minutes, and despite Alexandre Lacazette pulling one back early in the second half, Koscielny and Granit Xhaka contrived to allow Jesse Lingard his second of the night and that sealed the game for Jose Mourinho's side.

It was, in truth, an astonishing game of football, and United have goalkeeper David De Gea to thank for some remarkable saves -- not least the double stop from Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez at 2-1 which would have changed the complexion of the game completely.

However, it's three important points dropped to a big rival, and while there's some comfort in how well Arsenal played, the fact that they could have really done damage to United without those mistakes will make that particularly bittersweet.

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The overall performance was positive, another goal for Lacazette and the fact they dominated the game against such high-quality opposition -- although it should be noted that scoring twice in 11 minutes meant United weren't as interested in playing attacking football as they might have been otherwise.


The mistakes were careless and so very costly. You have to ask if Koscielny is capable of three games in a week and he was found wanting twice, while Mustafi's error was just so avoidable. When you shoot yourself in the foot like that, you will get punished.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Arsene Wenger did little wrong in terms of team selection or how he set his team out. A manager can't legislate for mistakes like those.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Petr Cech, 6 -- Beaten three times but made a crucial second-half save to deny United the game-sealing goal earlier than it arrived.

DF Laurent Koscielny, 4 -- He was found wanting for the first and third goals, and a player of his experience shouldn't be caught out that badly. Perhaps fatigued from his third game in six days when he's carrying an ongoing Achilles problem.

DF Shkodran Mustafi, 4 -- Hardly on long enough to rate but deserves one for his woeful piece of play which ended up costing Arsenal on the second goal. Went off injured.

DF Nacho Monreal, 7 -- Aggressive defending helped keep Arsenal on the front foot, let down by those around him.

MF Hector Bellerin, 6 -- Struggled to make any real impact going forward, got a booking for a spectacular foul on Ashley Young and got stood on by Paul Pogba in the incident which saw the United man sent off.

MF Aaron Ramsey, 7 -- That was Ramsey's seventh assist of the season, and he played a key role in driving Arsenal forward.

MF Granit Xhaka, 5 -- The Swiss international played well in general, used the ball well and kept things ticking, but completely switched off after tracking Jesse Lingard's run and allowed him to score his second goal of the night.

Shkodran Mustafi went off injured but not before his careless and fatal mistake put Arsenal 2-0 down.

MF Sead Kolasinac, 6 -- As has been the case in recent games he hasn't been able to make the final third contribution that the team needs.

FW Alexis Sanchez, 5 -- Wasteful, careless in possession and although it was his pass which Ramsey knocked back to Lacazette for the goal, he was off target throughout and lost the ball in the build-up to the third United goal.

FW Mesut Ozil, 7 -- Registered 127 touches and made four key passes, and almost everything went through the German. On another day, with a different keeper, it would have been viewed as a much different performance.

FW Alexandre Lacazette, 8 -- Seven shots, four on target, one goal, but his hold up play was excellent and he was Arsenal's best player on the night


Alex Iwobi, 7 -- Made Arsenal more dangerous as they went to a back four when Mustafi went off, but needs to find that assurance in the final third.

Olivier Giroud, NR -- Came on to try and grab a goal but never got the service

Danny Welbeck, NR -- Should have had a penalty when he was clearly fouled in the box but like Giroud, made little attacking impact otherwise.

Andrew Mangan is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @arseblog.


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