Manchester United and Arsenal sparred their way to a bit of a bonkers 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening in a match that managed to entertain despite being almost entirely devoid of quality.
With Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku demoted to the bench having both successfully attained dual ‘non-entity’ status over the past few months, United looked angular and incoherent for the majority, while Arsenal didn’t really muster enough to prey upon their opponents’ obvious vulnerability.
Perhaps fittingly, the scoring commenced (26′) with an unaesthetic diving header from Shkodran Mustafi that just about eked over the line after David De Gea made a dog’s breakfast of his parry.
The lead was defiantly held for four brave minutes until Anthony Martial equalised from close range, a simple chance made possible by Ander Herrera’s industrious clean-up job in the wake of Marcos Rojos’ saved freekick…
The Gunners then nudged their snouts in front midway through the second half (68′) when Rojo was caught in possession by Henrikh Mkhitaryan but recovered just in time to bundle an entirely avoidable own-goal past De Gea…
Again, the away side managed to manfully defend the lead for several heroic seconds as Jesse Lingard levelled things up while they were still showing replays of the Rojo own-goal…
As is his wont, Mourinho then chucked Marouane Fellaini on to depress a cheekbone here and there in the last 20 minutes.
However, the Belgian bruiser instead opted for an altogether more cerebral approach to neutralising the growing influence of Matteo Guendouzi, his younger, far more nimble Arsenal counterpart.
Many read Fellaini’s hair pull as a desperate subconscious attempt to reclaim the thick, luxe hair he has recently surrendered.
However, it’s possible that the United man was instead exacting some form of latent revenge for the misery he suffered at the hands of Robert Huth a while back.
Huth’s flirtatious set-piece foreplay was duly graphically defined by Fellaini’s then-manager Louis van Gaal as “sex masochism” in the aftermath…
Marouane Fellaini-Guendouzi gate brought back memories. When Robert Huth Fellaini’s hair, the gift Louis van Gaal delivered: “Only in sex masochism it is allowed.” #mufc #afc pic.twitter.com/hfL3ez4nKh
— Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 (@HLNinEngeland) 6 December 2018
Which, let’s face it, is enough to send anybody into a deep, dark hole of self-loathing and regret for 18 months.
Pies don’t claim to be psychiatrists of any note or regard beyond the amateur, but Fellaini on Guendouzi was clearly an act of catharsis.
Maybe now the lambs will stop screaming.