Diogo Dalot has promising Premier League debut for much-changed Man United
Manchester United played out their second 2-2 draw in four days but everything that had been missing at Southampton was on show vs. Arsenal at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho's team have gone four Premier League games without a win won't finish in the top four if that run of results continues too long, but if they can replicate the commitment and urgency of this performance they have a chance.
They twice went behind and twice fought back; goals from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard cancelling out Shkodran Mustafi and Alexandre Lacazette efforts either side of half time. The result was not what Mourinho wanted but the display, at least, was better.
United have had chances to throw in the towel over the last two months but battled back repeatedly, with Lingard's point-saving goal coming within a minute of Lacazette restoring Arsenal's lead. Mourinho was asked at his pregame news conference whether his players were still behind him; if they do not back the manager, they are doing a bad job of showing it.
United were the better team for the opening 10 minutes, but when they went behind it was the 11th time they have conceded the opening goal in 21 games this season. Their powers of recovery are not in question but they must stop giving opponents a head start.
Manager Rating out of 10
7 -- His big decisions saw Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku left on the bench and summer signing Fred omitted entirely. A back five included Diogo Dalot, Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly and Matteo Darmian, who had made five league starts between them this season before tonight. After an improved performance, though, Mourinho will feel his selection paid off.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David De Gea, 7 -- Made a bad mistake to let Mustafi's header slip through his fingers. That is not something United fans are used to seeing but De Gea made up for it with a string of fine saves in the second half.
DF Diogo Dalot, 8 -- If you did not know any better you would not have thought it was the 19-year-old's first start in the Premier League.
DF Matteo Darmian, 7 -- Covered well to stop Hector Bellerin shooting at De Gea in the first half and did little wrong in an unfamiliar left wing-back role.
DF Eric Bailly, 8 -- Back in the team for the first time since being substituted after 20 minutes vs. Newcastle on Oct. 6. He defended well, particularly when left one-on-one with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
DF Chris Smalling, 7 -- Will be disappointed to lose Mustafi for the Arsenal opener, through Smalling claimed he was fouled, but won the physical battle with Aubameyang when the striker tried to drop into midfield.
DF Marcos Rojo, 7 -- Thrown in at the deep end for his first appearance of the season, it was his fantastic free kick that led to Martial's equaliser. It was all going well until his mistake led to Lacazette's goal.
MF Nemanja Matic, 6 -- The Serbian midfielder does not look like the player he was last season. He had to tread carefully after picking up a booking in the first half and ended the game at centre-back.
MF Ander Herrera, 7 -- Unlucky not to clear Mustafi's header off the line, he set up Martial's goal by reacting first to the loose ball after Rojo's free kick and was generally busy all night.
MF Jesse Lingard, 7 -- Playing behind the front two, he had been quiet before getting United's second equaliser with a smart finish into the corner just seconds after Arsenal had gone back in front.
FW Marcus Rashford, 6 -- Tested Bernd Leno with a long-range drive early but also made the wrong decision a couple of times when in good positions. A quiet night.
FW Anthony Martial, 7 -- He was in the right place at the right time to score the equaliser, which gives him seven goals in his last seven league starts. It will be a worry for Mourinho that Martial limped off in the second half.
FW Romelu Lukaku -- Caused panic in Arsenal's defence before Lingard's goal but his barren run at Old Trafford continues.
MF Marouane Fellaini -- Thrown on up front but could repeat the winner he got vs. Arsenal in April.
MF Paul Pogba -- Had little time to prove a point to his manager.