Thrown in the deep end, at Old Trafford, Mavropanos made a promising debut for Arsenal. Although it ended in defeat, the defender performed well against the likes of Lukaku and later Rashford.
For the first time in quite a while, it’s easy to see what all the hype is about when it comes to a youngster making the grade. In fact, he’s the first youngster since Bellerin to impress me. As far as I’m concerned, the jury’s out on the rest of them, despite flashes of talent.
We mustn’t forget that Mavropanos has only played one game for the first team but, given he was protected by ‘the red card waiting to happen’ Xhaka and a double-barrelled named midfielder putting in a single barrelled performance, he acquitted himself well. Two goals only conceded is quite an achievement with Ospina in goal, even if Man U were in second gear for most of the match.
A less-than-embarrassing defeat counts as a victory nowadays at Arsenal, the way fourth became a trophy. This team is so poor that even that position is beyond them. You have to wonder how many of the team that played today will be included in the new boss’s plan. I’ve personally run out of patience with Xhaka. His passing makes him a liability and his tackling is not much better. How he got the captain’s armband is beyond me.
Bright spots were Welbeck’s running, Mikhitaryan’s goal and Chambers’s solidity. Aside from that, there was very little to celebrate in Arsenal’s performance. Even Aubemeyang, starved of a proper service, was quiet.
Any prospective Wenger successor who watched that is likely to be scared to take over. Although the team kept their shape defensively until the first goal, afterwards midfielders were slow to funnel back. Had United been in the mood, the punishment could have been more severe.
In the end, Arsenal had to settle for nothing, which at least gets fans ready for the likely outcome in Madrid on Thursday.