Freddie Ljungberg is not the right man to manage Arsenal on a long-term basis, said former Blackburn striker Chris Sutton.
Ex-Gunners midfielder Ljungberg, 42, is in interim charge of the club after they sacked Unai Emery last month.
“Freddie said he was 100% sure they would get into the top four but based on what? It’s fantasy,” said Sutton on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club.
“They need to get someone in place that they are going to get a reaction from.”
Ljungberg, who played for Arsenal between 1998 and 2007, had been Emery’s assistant after working with their under-23 side but has no previous managerial experience.
In his only game in charge so far, the Gunners twice fell behind to a Norwich City side in the bottom three before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang twice equalised in a 2-2 draw.
That result left Arsenal eighth in the Premier League, 21 points behind leaders Liverpool and seven behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
“Did you expect them to be much different?” added Sutton, a Premier League title winner with Blackburn in 1994-95. “It has been the same for the last decade and it’s still the same problem.
“They need to change the model, the recruitment. Over the summer they brought in [winger] Nicolas Pepe [for £72m] but the issues were at the back.”
Former Aston Villa and Chelsea midfielder Andy Townsend agreed with Sutton and said: “I don’t think it’s the right time for Freddie to take over, not the right time for someone who is inexperienced at this level.
“Arsenal need someone to come in and teach them about defending.
“Calum Chambers has been around long enough to see if there’s been an improvement but there hasn’t been. I don’t think he’s good enough to be an Arsenal regular.
“Sokratis is nowhere near good enough. I don’t think he would get into any Premier League side.”
‘If you rely on Sokratis you will be changing manager every six months’
Emery’s sacking by Arsenal came 10 days after Tottenham dismissed Mauricio Pochettino, although Spurs acted decisively by bringing in Jose Mourinho the next day.
“At Tottenham they sacked the manager, it was a bit harsh but the time had come, and they had a manager six hours later, that’s how Arsenal should’ve done it,” said former Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam.
“Whoever comes in, it’s a short-term fix and in January he will need two centre-halves but there’s no money.”
Townsend added: “Jose Mourinho, when he looked at the Spurs team and the players he was working with, he has Son Heung-min, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Lucas Moura and thought ‘we have half a chance’.
“With Arsenal you will think ‘I can win games with these players but I’ve got to sort out a team’. You will never stop Sokratis making mistakes. If you rely on him you will be changing manager every six months.”
Rodgers the ‘perfect fit’ for Arsenal – Adam
On Monday, Brendan Rodgers, manager of second-placed Leicester, dismissed speculation linking him with the Arsenal job, although on Sunday he had revealed there was a release clause in his Foxes contract.
“If Arsenal make the phone call and offer whatever that buy-out clause is, £15-£20m, that’s nothing to Arsenal. That sort of money they should find in a heartbeat,” added Townsend.
“They would spend it on a player and throw it away in 10 games. They spent £72m on Pepe and he does not get a game. To spend £25m on Brendan Rodgers, if he is the one they want then why wait?
“We’ve all enjoyed the Leicester story. It has been one of incredible highs and they are a great watch but they’re not on the same level globally as Arsenal are – to be back at Arsenal would be him back up among the elite.”
Adam described Rodgers as “the perfect fit” for Arsenal but doubted whether it would be the best decision from the former Liverpool and Celtic boss to leave Leicester for Arsenal.
“I don’t think it would be a good move for Rodgers,” said Adam. “At Leicester you have a new £100m training ground, four or five players at the top of their game – players like Youri Tielemans, Jamie Vardy, James Maddison.
“I would want my manager to say ‘I’m not interested in any other job’. If you don’t want to get it out there you don’t admit you have a buy-out clause. I think he wants the job.”
What about the other contenders?
Townsend believes Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, who won the Championship in 2017-18 and guided them to seventh in the Premier League last season, is the right man at Emirates Stadium.
“When I see the job he’s done at Wolves, getting them promoted, making them a seriously good team to watch, Nuno would be great,” said Townsend.
“He looks like a coach who wants to get into a player’s head and turn them around and some of the Arsenal players need that.”
Townsend also mentioned former Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez as another strong contender, but did not think Pochettino would move and join Tottenham’s fiercest rivals after more than five years in charge of Spurs.
“I wonder what the Arsenal fans would think of Benitez,” added Townsend. “He has been successful and managed at big clubs and has a history of trying to organise a team – and Arsenal need that.
“It’s too early for Mauricio Pochettino, he needs a breather instead of bouncing out of one job and into another.
“He was gone at the end. Have Christmas off at home and enjoy time with his family and friends. Pochettino can get a better job than Arsenal.”
Uber will not be granted a new licence to operate in London after repeated safety failures, Transport for London (TfL) has said.
The regulator said the taxi app was not “fit and proper” as a licence holder, despite having made a number of positive changes to its operations.
Uber initially lost its licence in 2017 but was granted two extensions, the most recent of which expires on Monday.
The firm will appeal and can continue to operate during that process.
London is one of Uber’s top five markets globally and it has about 45,000 drivers in the city. Overall, there are 126,000 licensed private hire and black cabs in the capital.
If its appeal is unsuccessful, some think Uber drivers would move over to rival ride-sharing firms such as Bolt and Kapten.”There would be competition that would fill that void quite quickly,” Fiona Cincotta, a market analyst at City Index told the BBC.
Why won’t Uber get a new licence?
TfL said it had identified a “pattern of failures” in London that placed passenger safety at risk.
These included a change to Uber’s systems which allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts.
It meant there were at least 14,000 fraudulent trips in London in late 2018 and early 2019, TfL said.
The regulator also found dismissed or suspended drivers had been able to create Uber accounts and carry passengers. In one example, a driver was able to continue working for Uber, despite the fact his private hire licence had been revoked after he was cautioned for distributing indecent images of children.
Helen Chapman, director of licensing at TfL, said: “While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I know this decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern. Regulations are there to keep Londoners safe.”
‘I feel safe using Uber’
Donna Stevens says her experiences of using Uber in London have “always been positive”.
In her job as a carer she often works late, so regularly uses the service. “The drivers are friendly, courteous and professional. I can’t afford to get a metered taxi.”
She says that if Uber were to go, she would probably have to go back to using public transport late at night, which does not make her feel safe.
However, another reader, Kay, says she would not be sad to see Uber go.
“I complained a couple of months ago about a driver who made me feel so uncomfortable I abandoned the ride and walked home in the dark at 11 o’clock at night instead of staying in his cab.”
She says Uber gave her a £5 credit but did not apologise. “How is it OK to employ drivers that make women feel unsafe?” she says.
Is this the end of Uber in London?
Uber lovers in London, fear not! The company’s cars will not suddenly disappear from the capital’s streets.
Uber is going to appeal against this decision so a magistrate will have to decide whether Uber is fit to hold a licence in London, or not.
A decision from a magistrates court could take weeks or months and unless the court decides otherwise, Uber will retain its licence during this period too.
When TfL decided not to renew Uber’s licence in 2017, the company addressed some of the issues raised by TfL back then and then a magistrate later granted Uber a new licence.
On the face of it TfL is standing tough against perceived failings by Uber. But in effect it is letting the courts decide, at a later date, whether Uber should have a licence, or not.
What does Uber say?
Uber said the decision was “extraordinary and wrong”. It said it had audited every driver in London over the past two months and strengthened its processes.
Boss Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted: “We understand we’re held to a high bar, as we should be. But this TfL decision is just wrong. Over the last 2 years we have fundamentally changed how we operate in London.”
According to Uber, 24% of its sales come from just five cities, including London. The others are Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and São Paulo in Brazil.
In a public filing, it said: “Any inability to operate in London, as well as the publicity concerning any such termination or non-renewal, would adversely affect our business, revenue, and operating results.
“We cannot predict whether the TfL decision, or future regulatory decisions or legislation in other jurisdictions, may embolden or encourage other authorities to take similar actions even where we are operating according to the terms of an existing licence or permit.”
What do others say?
Business lobby group the CBI said customers valued Uber, and encouraged both sides to find a resolution.
But the Unite union – which believes Uber has unfairly taken business from black cab drivers – welcomed the news.
“Uber’s DNA is about driving down standards and creating a race to the bottom which is not in the best interests of professional drivers or customers,” said Jim Kelly, chair of Unite’s London and Eastern cab section.
Where else has banned Uber?
Uber has faced pressure from regulators around the world over the way it treats its drivers, competition concerns, and fears about passenger safety.
The US firm pulled out of Denmark in 2017 because of new taxi laws that required drivers to have fare meters and seat sensors.
Bulgaria and Hungary both stripped Uber’s right to operate following pressure from local taxi unions.
And in May, the ride-hailing firm pulled its UberXL service in Turkey without saying why.
What happened in London in 2017?
TfL first declined to renew Uber’s licence in September 2017, again over safety concerns. Back then it cited Uber’s approach to carrying out background checks on drivers and reporting serious criminal offences.
Uber’s use of secret software, called “Greyball”, which could be used to block regulators from monitoring the app, was another factor, although Uber said it had never been used in the UK.
However, TfL granted Uber a 15-month licence extension – later extended by two months – conditional on it making improvements to its business.
TfL can offer licences of up to five years, but it has been more stringent of late.
In July, Indian ride-hailing company Ola got a 15-month agreement for its entry into the London market, while ViaVan got a three-year licence renewal.
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A man accused of rape was caught on camera at a hotel just before one of his alleged victims smashed him over the head and escaped, a court heard.
Joseph McCann went into the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April, leaving two women in a car outside, the Old Bailey was told.
He was allegedly captured on CCTV entering the hotel wearing a tracksuit and a baseball cap.
Mr McCann, 34, from Harrow, denies 37 offences against 11 victims.
After going into the hotel, he held the front door open and glanced repeatedly outside while rapping on the window of the reception desk to speak to staff, the court was told.
He then told his alleged captives to get out of the car and smile as he put his arms around them.
Instead, one of them, a 25-year-old woman, grabbed a bottle of vodka and hit him over the head with it before running for help, jurors heard.
The trial continues.
Unai Emery has been offered public backing by the Arsenal hierarchy, but warned results must improve.
Emery’s position is under scrutiny after a run of just two wins from their last 10 Premier League games.
However, Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham say they have no immediate plans to make a change of manager.
“We firmly believe Unai is the right man for the job,” they told Arsenal staff at a meeting.
“We are as disappointed as everyone else with both our results and performances at this stage of the season.
“We share the frustration with our fans, Unai, players and all our staff as they are not at the level we want or expect. Things need to improve to meet our objectives for the season.
“We are all working intensively behind the scenes to turn things around and are confident we will.
“We never take our fantastic support for granted. We hope we can all stick together and get behind the team in this challenging period, as together we are stronger.”
Xhaka ‘hurt’ by hostile criticism
Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka says he has been hurt by the “extreme hostility” directed towards him from the supporters, but has promised to prove his worth.
The Switzerland midfielder has not played for the club since.
“It was very hurtful and frustrating,” Xhaka told Swiss newspaper Blick.
“I can’t understand a reaction like that even now, especially the vehemence of it and the extreme hostility directed against me.”
Xhaka was booed as he walked off the pitch as he was substituted against Palace, prompting him to cup his ear, take his shirt off and head straight down the tunnel to the dressing room.
“When my shirt number lit up on the fourth official’s panel and our own fans broke into gleeful jubilation, that hit me very hard and really upset me,” he added.
“Insulting and swearing at your own captain will cause upset and a bad atmosphere for the team you are actually supposed to be supporting; that makes no sense to me and weakens the team’s spirit.”
Arsenal manager Emery said last week that he was unsure whether the midfielder would play for the club again, adding that “he was not ready” to return for Saturday’s match at Leicester, which the Gunners lost 2-0.
Xhaka, though, says he is fully committed to the club and is ready to move on from the incident.
“I’ve been 100% behind the club and my role as a player since I came here,” he said.
“I’m proud to be playing for this big club. I’ll continue to stay positive, give my all to an even greater extent and prove that I’m an important part of this great team.
“Last week in particular was a very special, emotional experience for me but I’m doing very well again, I’ve trained well this week and am looking forward to my next assignments.”
Mick McCarthy says uncapped Tottenham teenager Troy Parrott will stay in his Republic of Ireland squad for the vital Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark.
The 17-year-old, who has played only one competitive game for Tottenham, was named in an extended squad last week.
The Republic boss revealed on Monday that Parrott will make the cut when the squad is reduced on Thursday.
“I can confirm Troy will be on the list,” McCarthy told the Football Association of Ireland website.
“I spoke to [Republic of Ireland Under-21 manager] Stephen Kenny at our monthly manager’s meeting in Abbotstown on Monday and told him that Troy and Aaron Connolly will be with the senior squad next week.”
The Republic host New Zealand in a friendly four days before the crunch 18 November contest against the Danes.
“Troy has been pushing for this step up for some time now and I look forward to seeing him on the training ground ahead of the New Zealand game. I hope he pushes me to include him in that game,” added McCarthy.
The Republic boss said he was optimistic injury doubts Darren Randolph, Glenn Whelan and Matt Doherty would all be fit after speaking to all three players.
Whelan and Doherty both had to be substituted because of injury during their clubs’ games at the weekend while keeper Randolph has missed Middlesbrough’s last three matches because of a thigh injury.
“I have been in touch with all three players and they assure me they are confident of being fit to play against Denmark,” said McCarthy
Veteran Whelan was substituted in the first half of Hearts’ Scottish League Cup semi-final defeat by Rangers on Sunday because of a hamstring issue while Doherty was forced off during Wolves’ Premier League draw against Arsenal after suffering a recurrence of a knee problem.
The Republic boss was pleased to see Robbie Brady get more game time for Burnley over the weekend after his injury problems this season while David McGoldrick was back in action in the same encounter as he helped Sheffield United clinch a 3-0 victory.
A Republic win on 18 November should be enough to secure them a spot at Euro 2020 although McCarthy’s side will need a 2-0 victory to qualify if Switzerland pick up only four points from their final two games against Georgia and Gibraltar.
Brentford made it three Championship wins in a row with a deserved victory at west London rivals Queens Park Rangers.
The hosts, who would have gone second in the table with victory, went behind in the first half when Ollie Watkins headed in Bryan Mbeumo’s cross.
Rangers equalised soon after the break through returning captain Grant Hall’s header, before Brentford retook the lead on the hour mark as Said Benrahma smashed in a penalty.
Watkins sealed the win in the fourth minute of stoppage time, tapping in Mathias Jensen’s low cross as Brentford broke on the counter-attack.
The Bees were good value for their victory and could have had more goals were it not for R’s goalkeeper Liam Kelly who made fine saves to deny Benrahma, Josh Dasilva and Watkins.
Rangers also created some good chances – the best of them Nahki Wells’ bullet header which was superbly tipped wide by David Raya.
But it was Josh Scowen’s foul on Mbeumo in the box which led to the decisive spot kick, although it looked a harsh decision on the R’s midfielder.
Watkins simply made sure of three points, scoring his 10th goal of the season with the last kick of the game.
QPR remain eighth in a tight Championship table, two points off an automatic promotion place, while Brentford are now three points outside the play-offs in 12th.
Sheffield United claimed a stunning win over Arsenal to move into the top half of the Premier League.
Lys Mousset marked his first start for the Blades with the decisive goal in the first half, turning in Jack O’Connell’s knockdown from close range.
Arsenal’s £72m signing Nicolas Pepe had earlier skewed a golden chance wide from six yards.
Granit Xhaka forced Dean Henderson into an excellent save but the Blades closed the game out superbly for a famous win.
The victory was Sheffield United’s biggest result since their return to the Premier League as they moved up to ninth, four points clear of the relegation zone.
Defeat for Arsenal, meanwhile, means they missed the chance to move back into the top four. They are fifth, two points behind Chelsea in fourth.
Sheffield show their steel once again
Sheffield United have certainly shown plenty of grit on their return to the Premier League and have been particularly impressive in not rolling over to sides in the top six.
They battled from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Chelsea in August before pushing Liverpool close at the end of last month, only to be undone by a single goal from a mistake by Henderson.
Against Arsenal they again took the game to their opponents from the outset. David McGoldrick’s technical ability combined with Mousset’s pace posed a troubling front line for the Arsenal defence.
Chris Wilder had challenged his new-look forward line to give the Blades the cutting edge they have lacked this season and Mousset did just that, making the most of being unmarked inside the box to sweep home.
From then on, it was all about the Sheffield United defence. The hosts, incredibly, have not lost a league game when leading at half-time since 2014 and they managed the remainder of the game superbly, with their back three of O’Connell, Chris Basham and John Egan forming a formidable barrier.
“I have so much respect for Sheffield United’s back three,” BBC Radio 5 live summariser Chris Sutton said. “They have come up through the leagues together, they are well oiled and well drilled.
“It is the best defence in the Premier League this season, along with Liverpool.”
Travel sickness strikes again for Arsenal
The Gunners went into the international break in a good place in the Premier League.
They sat third after beating Bournemouth 1-0 at the Emirates, extending their home record so far this season to four wins and one draw.
But away from home Arsenal remain unconvincing.
Their only win on the road in the Premier League came in their season-opener when they beat Newcastle 1-0 but since then they have scraped draws against Watford and Manchester United and lost to Liverpool and now Sheffield United.
Arsenal have won just four of their last 17 games away from home – a statistic Gunners boss Unai Emery will need to improve quickly if they are to challenge for the top four.
Pepe fails to produce the goods
Ivory Coast winger Pepe arrived at Arsenal in the summer with a big reputation and a big price tag.
The £72m club-record signing had scored 35 goals in 74 appearances for Lille, but he has been underwhelming so far for the Gunners.
The 24-year-old had scored one goal – a penalty – in nine appearances prior to Monday’s game and should have really got his second for Arsenal but managed to miss a chance that looked considerably easier to score.
But despite that error he was arguably the best player in an admittedly under-performing Arsenal team in the first half, and it is easy to forget that it was he who started the move in his own box that led to the chance he missed.
However, Arsenal fans will understandably be expecting him to perform on a more consistent basis to justify his huge price tag.
Man of the match – John Fleck (Sheffield United)
Bramall Lane blues for Arsenal – the stats
- Arsenal have played more Premier League games at Bramall Lane without victory than they have any other ground in the competition (4 – D2 L2).
- Arsenal have lost four of their last seven Premier League away games against newly-promoted sides (W3), as many defeats as in their previous 49 matches (W33 D12 L4).
- Three of the 10 bookings for diving in the Premier League this season have been awarded by Mike Dean (30%), with no other referee issuing more than one this campaign. He gave out two cards for diving on Monday night.
- Since the start of last season, Arsenal have been shown more cards for diving than any other Premier League team (7).
- 13 of Jack O’Connell’s last 14 goal involvements in the league for Sheffield United have come at Bramall Lane, including each of his last eight (3 goals, 5 assists).
- Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson has kept 25 clean sheets in the league since the start of last season; more than any other goalkeeper in England’s top four tiers.
- Sheffield United’s Lys Mousset has scored two goals in six Premier League appearances this season (1 start, 5 sub apps), one more than he registered in 24 games for Bournemouth in 2018-19 (1 start, 23 sub apps).
Sheffield United travel to West Ham on Saturday, 26 October (15:00 BST) while Arsenal host Portuguese side Vitoria SC in the Europa League on Thursday, 24 October (20:0 BST).
A Brit Award-winning musician has been ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work for punching a bar manager and threatening to stab him during an unprovoked drunken attack.
Finley Quaye, 45, assaulted Robert Jenei outside Troubadour on the Old Brompton Road, west London, in the early hours of September 8.
Scotland-born Quaye, 45, of Earls Court, London had been performing at the bar and drinking there all night.
The court heard he had offended before.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told Quaye had asked bar manager Mr Jenei to search for a female companion’s handbag after the pair left the venue at around 01:30 BST.
But after looking for the bag Mr Jenei returned to find Quaye visibly angry and making threats to security staff, before punching the victim in the face.
He then kicked a BMW belonging to security staff and shouted abuse saying “I will stab you lot in the kidney” and “I will stab you in the windpipe”.
Quaye pleaded guilty to a charge of assault at a hearing on 7 October.
His solicitor, Shahnaz Sargent, said Quaye had been given a supply of free alcohol as one of the perks of performing at the bar.
The court heard he had a string of convictions for offences including battery and public disorder dating back to 2012.
Ms Sargent said he had been attending addiction services for alcohol and drugs, adding: “He’s very sorry for the way he behaved towards Mr Jenei.”
As well as the community order, he was also ordered to pay costs and a fine totalling £525.
The singer, who was born in Edinburgh, was best known for his album Maverick A Strike in the late 1990s.
He told the judge he was not working and would be paying his fine from benefits at £15 per week.
Judge Michael Snow said: “If you go around thumping managers in the face, I don’t suppose you are going to get much work.”
A Windrush migrant who was trying to prove his British citizenship died of natural causes, an inquest has found.
Dexter Bristol, who was born on the Caribbean island of Grenada, collapsed near his north London home last year.
At the time, he was caught up in the immigration scandal which saw children of Commonwealth citizens threatened with deportation.
The inquest, the second held into his death, considered the impact the Home Office had on his death.
The initial hearing, held last year, was quashed following a judicial review by Mr Bristol’s family who contested the ruling that the government should not be an interested party in the inquest.
On Monday, coroner Mary Hassell said although his immigration status may have caused stress, heart disease was the underlying cause of death.
At St Pancras Coroner’s Court, Ms Hassell said the 58-year-old had other stresses in his life, including being anxious about the relationship with his mother.
The court heard Mr Bristol, of Mount Pleasant, Camden, had become unemployed in 2016 just as he was being questioned about his right to work in the UK.
He arrived with his mother, Sentina D’Artanyan-Bristol, in 1968, when he was eight after travelling on her passport. He did not have a passport or travel documents of his own.
‘Justice not done’
Professor Jaswinder Gill, consultant cardiologist at Guy and St Thomas’ Hospital, told the court the prospect of Mr Bristol losing his income and home as he struggled to prove his citizenship “would have contributed towards his demise”.
His immigration lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie said a letter with an update to his case arrived shortly after his death.
Following the coroner’s ruling, Mrs D’Artanyan-Bristol said: “I don’t think justice was done.
“The stress from the Home Office brought on the heart attack, he was going through a lot of stress because of the Home Office.”
The government had been heavily criticised over the treatment of the Windrush generation, which saw long-term UK residents denied access to services, held in detention or removed despite living legally in the country for decades.
Manchester United and Arsenal played out a grim stalemate at Old Trafford that provided compelling evidence to illustrate just how far away from a Premier League challenge both clubs are.
In a disappointing encounter that was a pale shadow of their mighty clashes of years gone by, Scott McTominay gave Manchester United the lead at the end of an attritional first-half with a rising drive from the edge of the area.
Arsenal equalised just before the hour courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cool finish. It was originally ruled out for offside but the video assistant referee confirmed the striker had been played onside by Harry Maguire.
Goalkeeper Bernd Leno excelled for Arsenal with fine saves from Maguire and Marcus Rashford’s late free-kick, while Bukayo Saka’s goalbound shot crucially struck Victor Lindelof and flew over the top.
McTominay also headed a great chance well over from Ashley Young’s corner but neither side could force a winner.
The result takes Arsenal into the top four but Manchester United are now down in 10th after an outcome that means they have made their worst start after seven games in 30 years, failing to reach double figures for the first time since 1989-90, a season in which they finished 13th.
How times have changed
The current circumstances of both clubs was instantly demonstrated by the two captains who led out the sides.
Manchester United’s captain was 34-year-old Ashley Young, pressed into defensive service by Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s absence through injury, and Arsenal were led by Granit Xhaka, newly appointed and a divisive figure among supporters.
Young led from the front in a fashion by regularly contesting decisions, showing a remarkable knack of getting to referee Kevin Friend in an instant on numerous occasions.
Xhaka’s night will be best remembered for his contribution to United’s goal – getting away with a foul in the build-up before appearing to take evasive action as McTominay’s drive made its way into the top corner.
There was no shortage of effort but this was a scrappy mess of a game, lacking any cohesion or quality.
United will feel they had the edge on chances, although they were grateful to David de Gea for a fine double save from Saka and Matteo Guendouzi in the first half.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery will be more satisfied than counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a point but this showed just how far away both are from leaders Liverpool and reigning champions Manchester City – and just how much work they have to do to catch up.
Tough night for Pepe
It was no surprise when Arsenal’s club record £72m signing Nicholas Pepe failed to last the course, being substituted for Reiss Nelson after 72 minutes.
The 24-year-old signing from Lille had struggled desperately throughout and looks worryingly short of confidence so soon after his introduction into the Premier League.
Pepe had one clear shooting opportunity in the first half but skied his effort hopelessly into the Stretford End. He was on the periphery of the action in a laboured performance also littered with poor decision-making.
It was left to the lethal Aubameyang to provide the finishing touch for Arsenal, correctly assisted by VAR after technology showed he was clearly onside.
Solksjaer appeared to think the linesman’s raised flag made his players stop but it was clearly the correct decision as Maguire loitered yards behind his defensive colleagues.
More to follow.