Neither Manchester United nor Arsenal’s defenders really covered themselves in glory in their 2-2 draw on Wednesday night.
Three of the four goals came in rather farcical circumstances, but Jose Mourinho will be pleased with a point nonetheless given the Gunners’ 20-match unbeaten run.
The Red Devils are now four league games without a win and they must have feared welcoming Unai Emery’s resurgent outfit to Old Trafford following their blistering display in the north London derby.
In particular, United will have been keeping a close eye on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose brace against Tottenham sent him to the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts.
Instead, it was Shkodran Mustafi and substitute Alexandre Lacazette who found a way past David de Gea.
Aubameyang was surprisingly quiet in the first half, though it looked as though Emery had instructed him to hold the ball up and he did produce some decent link-up play with Sead Kolasinac.
However, while it was his pace that was always going to make the Gabon striker a threat, a makeshift United defence dealt with him surprisingly well.
Injuries meant that Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, and Marcos Rojo started as a back three, with Diogo Dalot and Matteo Darmian utilised as wing-backs.
And one moment early into the second half showed how Bailly handled the 29-year-old perfectly.
Bailly vs Aubameyang
As the ball was played through, Aubameyang and Bailly raced to make up the ground. There was only one winner, and not the one you might expect:
That’s right – the Ivorian actually out-paced one of the quickest strikers in the league, before waving his arms to get the crowd up.
It’s just a pity the centre-back has struggled so much for game time this season amid his ongoing injuries – plus Mourinho taking exception to his lapses of concentration.
The 24-year-old was making just his fifth start of the season in all competitions.
Having fared reasonably well against Arsenal, however, it’s quite possible United fans will be seeing more of him over a hectic Christmas period that sees the club play another six times in just 22 days.
Next up, it’s newly-promoted Fulham on Saturday.
Should Mourinho persevere with Bailly again? Have your say in the comments.