Erik ten Hag’s prediction for Arsenal vs. Manchester United was dramatically off

January 25, 2023

On Sunday, Arsenal defeated Manchester United 3-2 to earn a key victory and move five points clear of second-place Manchester City in the Premier League standings.


After 17 minutes, United sensation Marcus Rashford opened the scoring before Eddie Nketiah answered for the Gunners seven minutes later. Bukayo Saka, a recent graduate of the Hale End academy, gave his team the early advantage in the game; Red Devils promptly responded with an equalizer through Argentine defender Lisandro Martinez.


Nketiah’s 90th-minute goal then gave the north Londoners the victory, a result that might be crucial for Arsenal’s bid to win the league championship for the first time since 2004. Erik ten Hag, the manager of United, has since reflected on the game at the Emirates Stadium and stated that his squad played strong defense and hardly let the home team any ‘clean’ shots on David De Gea’s goal.


The Dutchman remarked in a press conference, as reported by Manchester Evening News: “I think a lot of games we played very well (defensively), we had a lot of clean sheets. Against Manchester City, we played excellent defense. Overall, we played excellent defense against Arsenal.


“I don’t believe they take clean shots; one came from a free-kick, though. The remaining shots were from long-range cutbacks, with one of our defenders standing between the ball and the goal.


Ten Hag’s remarks seem particularly odd because both of Nketiah’s goals were spotless strikes inside United’s six-yard box, hardly pop-shots from a great distance. And, according to Understat, Arsenal registered 2.9 xG (expected goals) on the day, compared to the Red Devils’ 0.27 xG.


This was the second-highest total that Ten Hag’s team has given up in the league this year, trailing only Manchester City’s marginally higher (3.01) tally from their 6-3 victory in October 2022. This shows that the Gunners were well deserved all three points and produced a lot more than the United boss would like to accept.

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