Man Utd 2-1 Arsenal - 'Young Guns impress at Old Trafford'

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The third stage of the Arsene Wenger farewell tour went much better than expected, despite the Frenchman failing to get one over on one of his fiercest rivals in Jose Mourinho.

29th Apr 2018

For the clash, the Arsenal manager fielded his youngest squad for seven years that included the likes of Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and Premier League debutant Konstantinos Mavropanos.

With the biggest game of the season - a second-leg clash with Atletico Madrid - looming, it was great to see a handful of youngsters get some crucial experience in the first team.

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Young guns

Key players like Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey were given a rest by the club as a result of the aforementioned fixture.

Prior to the game, our legendary manager received a special reward, presented by Sir Alex Ferguson and Mourinho, to commemorate his longevity and achievements over the last two decades.

Seeing the three greatest managers in Premier League history alongside one another was a sight to behold, and the reward to Wenger was a particularly class act from the Manchester club.

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As formerly noted, a majority of fans expected the home side to take an easy win considering the amount of key players missing for Arsenal. 

However, this wasn’t to be the case as a young Arsenal side performed very well against the hosts. While the Gunners have often been the worse of the two teams away from home, that certainly wasn’t the case against the Red Devils. 

Maitland-Niles was - without a doubt - the best player on the pitch and was a dominant threat throughout.

The 20-year-old stood out against the opposition’s midfielders like Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba, with the latter seemingly praising his performance and offering advice once the game ended. 

If there’s one thing I’m certain about coming out of this game, it’s that Maitland-Niles is ready for the first team. His appearances this season have often been fantastic and he will be a great rotational option to have in the team should Jack Wilshere leave following the expiration of his contract.

READ MORE: Five players Arsenal should sell this summer

Magnificent Mavropanos

Away from the Englishman’s fantastic performance, many fans (including myself) were shocked to see Mavropanos handed his first start with the club considering Rob Holding travelled to Manchester for the game. 

Despite this, the Greek defender delivered a performance that was more than worthy of praise. The 20-year-old looked very calm on the ball and also looked composed when defending. You wouldn’t have thought he was making his first appearance for the club.

While it’s early to say, the young defender certainly looks like a real bargain, I’d love to see more from him this season.

Away form woes

Although I’m seemingly full of positives from this match, it’s frustrating how poor the north London side have been away from home in 2018 and throughout the season as a whole.

Failing to claim a single point across the year combined with only three wins out of 17 fixtures is an embarrassing return for any club, letalone a club as big as Arsenal. Let’s just hope this terrible form doesn’t carry over to other countries, like Spain. 

The next stop of the Wenger farewell tour takes place in Madrid as Diego Simeone's men face the Frenchman’s side in the Europa League semi-finals.

If the Gunners are to make the final, they’ll have to score at least once due to the away goal rule.

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