- Associated Press - Saturday, November 19, 2016

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho rose from his chair and was about to leave the post-match news conference when he turned to his audience, threw his arms up and said: “Finally, I’ve lost to Arsenal.”

It was a tongue-in-cheek remark from Mourinho but it summed up his feelings perfectly. United conceded an 89th-minute goal by Olivier Giroud to draw 1-1 with Arsenal in the English Premier League on Saturday, leaving Mourinho’s side with an increasingly familiar deflated feeling at Old Trafford this season.

United has dominated its last three home games in the league - against Stoke, Burnley and now Arsenal - and come away with draws from all of them.

“We all know internally,” Mourinho said, “that in this moment we are the unlucky team in the Premier League.”

Giroud’s superb header, from fellow substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s right cross, was Arsenal’s only attempt on target in a match that United controlled at Old Trafford. United did the same against Burnley last time it played at Old Trafford, having 37 attempts on goal but drawing 0-0.

Mourinho is cutting a frustrated figure at United, which remains a work in progress in his first season in charge. But he now hasn’t lost in 12 Premier League meetings with Arsenal across two spells with Chelsea and one game with United, and stretched his unbeaten run in competitive meetings with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger - his bitter coaching rival - to 14 matches.

It was a flat and all-too-familiar performance at Old Trafford by Arsenal, who hasn’t beaten United away in the league since September 2006 and fell behind to Juan Mata’s 68th-minute goal. The Spain playmaker met a right-wing cut-back by Ander Herrera with a low, first-time shot into the corner for his fourth goal of the season.

Mourinho was heading for his most important victory since arriving at United, only for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to sprint past Marcus Rashford, reach the byline and cross for his fellow substitute Giroud to head home at the far post.

“We had not our usual style going forward. We were not sharp or fluent enough,” said Wenger, who suggested that Arsenal might have a “mental block” when it plays at Old Trafford.

Giroud is starting to make a serious claim for a starting place now he is fully fit following a delayed start to the season after the European Championship. The France striker, who has lost his place to Alexis Sanchez as Arsenal’s lone striker, scored two goals off the bench in the last away game at Sunderland.

“He is a bit frustrated,” Wenger said. “That is normal. He is ready to go again.”

This fixture has provided plenty of drama down the years but there was little to get the crowd excited about here, with the teams’ decision to field two defensive midfielders stifling much of the attacking play.

United had the better of the game, but only created half chances until Mata’s goal.

His future at United looked bleak after Mourinho was hired by United, with the Portuguese coach having sold Mata to United in January 2014 when both were at Chelsea. Mourinho then left the Spaniard distinctly unimpressed by substituting him in the Community Shield in August, soon after bringing him on as a substitute.

But Mata appears to be a central figure in Mourinho’s plans at United, and was given a standing ovation when he was substituted in the 85th minute.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide