Sanchez & Maitland-Niles

Arsenal fans single out pair of youngsters for special praise despite loss at Man United

Supporters of Arsenal have this evening taken to social media to sing the praises of two of the club’s brightest young talents, following their side’s 2-1 loss to Manchester United.

Matchup

The two sides went head to head at Old Trafford, with hosts United having come into proceedings on the back of 6 straight wins across all competitions, the latest of which came last weekend in the semi-finals of the FA Cup versus Tottenham.

Arsenal, meanwhile, were no doubt still smarting after somehow failing to earn a victory over Atletico Madrid in the first-leg of their Europa League semi-final clash with the La Liga outfit at the Emirates on Thursday night, with the Gunners having eventually come away with a 1-1 draw.

And the European commitments of the North Londoners had a major effect on the team selection of Arsene Wenger this evening, with the Frenchman having opted for a weakened and inexperienced lineup.

Teams

Class act

The main talking point in the buildup to this evening’s matchup was the fact that the clash would mark Arsene Wenger’s last at Old Trafford as Arsenal manager, after the legendary tactician announced his decision to depart North London at the end of the season last week.

And, after Wenger was given a rousing reception by the crowd at Old Trafford following his emergence from the tunnel, Manchester United showcased their class and appreciation for the Frenchman’s achievements over the last 22 years, via Sir Alex Ferguson.

In front

The opening exchanges at Old Trafford this evening saw Arsenal’s inexperienced starting XI hold their own, with the young Gunners even looking dangerous on the break on occasion.

However, Manchester United took the lead with a quarter of an hour gone, after a sumptuous Romelu Lukaku cross to the back post was headed towards the bottom corner of his former club’s goal, before a brilliant intervention from Hector Bellerin saw the ball deflected onto the post.

Paul Pogba was on hand to volley home the rebound, though, continuing his recent resurgence.

Level

Arsenal managed to hold on until half-time, before the second 45 started out in brutal fashion for Manchester United.

The first worrying moment came when Romelu Lukaku went to ground under a challenge from Gunners’ debutant Konstantinos Mavropanos, with the burly Belgian hitman subsequently forced off and replaced by Marcus Rashford.

And, adding to United’s woes just minutes later was an Arsenal equalizer, courtesy of an excellent strike from former Red Devil Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Taking the positives

In truth, Arsenal’s inexperienced XI more than held their own from here on in, but, as has so often been the case for the Gunners of late, it wasn’t quite enough, as an injury-time header from Maroune Fellaini eventually saw hosts United emerge with all 3 points.

Despite their loss, though, large sections of Arsenal’s fans couldn’t help but take the positives from their side’s stand-up performance this evening, with youngsters Konstantinos Mavropanos and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, both of whom are just 20, having since been singled out for huge praise following their excellent individual showings under the bright lights at Old Trafford:

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