Manchester United started with no recognized strikers but could welcome back Nick Powell who got the job of playing in the most attacking position.
Akpom with an early goal for Arsenal
Arsenal had the first chance of the game on 8 minutes when Angha sent in a low cross that Reece Brown just managed to block with Hayden lurking behind him. But Arsenal took the lead just 2 minute later when United made a mess out of a defensive throw-in. Vermijl cleared the ball straight to an Arsenal-player who gave the ball to Chuba Akpom. The 17-yeard old striker took the ball past Fornasier too easily – and hammered the ball into the roof of the net from the edge of the 6 yard box.
Powell headed home the equalizer
But after struggling for the first 10-12 minutes – United suddenly came to life thanks to Januzaj, Powell and Lingard. The equalizer came on 15 minutes. Januzaj was brought down near the corner-flag, Arsenal left no men at the posts, and Januzaj’s freekick was perfect for Nick Powell to head home at the near post.
Lingard gives United the lead after wonderful football from United
On 22 minutes United were in front – and it was a superb attack. Tunnicliffe sent Powell running down the right – he shoulder-charged Hajrovic off the ball before taking his time to find Januzaj in space. Januzaj immediately played through Lingard who put the ball past Fabianski from 8 yards out.
And now United were in complete control and could have further extended their attack after a superb attack down the left saw Vermijl set-up Tunnicliffe, but his effort hit the crossbar and went out for a goalkick.
Akpom equalizing after mistake from Amos
Just when United looked like finishing the game off, Arsenal struck back with venom. A thunderous 25-yard strike from Henderson should have been handled better by Amos. The ball hit Amos in the chest and dropped to the ground where Akpom easily tucked the ball away with Amos struggling on the ground.
United were forced into making a substitution on 36 minutes when Veseli appeared to suffer from a hamstring-injury and was replaced with McGinty. Vermijl moved from left to right and the Maidstone-born defender took his usual left-back position.
Arsenal almost scored again deep in injury-time when Gnabry curled the ball just inches wide of the far post.
The second-half started as the first ended. Lots of intensity but very few chances until Nicky Powell brought down Thomas Eisfeld 25 yards out on 53 minutes. Henderson struck the ball well but went just wide after clipping the wall.
United – or rather Powell wanted a penalty just minutes later when he nicked the ball near the goal-line and Miquel’s kick sent him to the ground. A penalty would probably have been a harsh decision as the ball was harmlessly rolling out for a goalkick when Powell went down.
Amos lucky not to be sent-off
This was a good period for United with Arsenal really struggling to keep Powell under control. But once again the poor goalkeeping of Ben Amos almost caused United problems on 62 minutes. A long ball forward bounced just outside the box and with Akpom and Brown challenging for the ball – Amos rushed out of his box and tried to head the ball but ended up elbowing Akpom and was lucky only to receive a yellow card. His luck continued as dead-ball specialist Thomas Eisfeldt sent the freekick over the bar. Fornasier followed Amos into the book 2 minutes later when he prevented a very difficult situation by taking out Eisfeldt.
Akpom should have grabbed his hat-trick on 70 minutes. A superb inswinging cross from Ottewill was met by the striker who headed over the bar from 5 yards out. McGinty applied just enough pressure to Akpom to throw him off but the striker should have got his header on target regardless.
Very little happened in the next 15 minutes until McGinty nearly scored a freak goal, completely miss-hitting a cross that almost flew into the far corner with Fabianski back-tracking.
Januzaj who up until then had performed brilliantly then gave the ball away needlessly in midfield. Arsenal hit quickly on the counter and Januzaj desperately trying to make amends for his mistake, brought down Eisfeldt just outside the box. Januzaj got off with a yellow and Gnabry hammered the free-kick just wide of goal. A goal in the 88th minute would surely have won the game for Arsenal but instead the game ended 2-2
Adnan Januzaj and Nicky Powell the stand-out players for United. Januzaj provided the trickery and had 2 assists. Powell showed superb control of the ball – and that combined with great strength made him a handful for Arsenal.
Amos had a poor game by his standards. He should have done better on 1 goal and could – maybe even should have been sent off in the second half after misjudging a long ball. Another player who was poor was Larnell Cole. After 4 goals against Oldham last week he was completely anonymous for the majority of the game.
Manchester United – Arsenal 2-2 (2-2)
0-1 Chuba Akpom 12
1-1 Nicky Powell 15 (Januzaj)
2-1 Jesse Lingard 22 (Januzaj)
2-2 Chuba Akpom 30
Manchester United: Ben Amos, Frederic Veseli, Reece Brown, Michele Fornasier, Marnick Vermijl – Reece Brown, Larnell Cole, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Adnan Januzaj, Jesse Lingard – Nicky Powell
Bench: Jonny Sutherland, Sean McGinty, Tom Lawrence, Tyler Blackett and Charni Ekangamene
Arsenal: Lukasz Fabianski, Martin Angha-Lötscher, Sead Hajrovic, Ignasi Miquel, Brandon Ormond-Ottewill, Isaac Hayden, Niko Yennaris, Thomas Eisfeld, Serge Gnabry, Chuba Akpom, Conor Henderson
Bench. Jordan Wynter, James Shea, Joseph Rees, Nigel Neita, Samir Bihmoutine