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.
‘It is a steep learning curve’
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “How many times have we have been 1-0 up and not got the second goal? This is a steep learning curve for us and we’ll keep working hard and, with more experience, we’ll make the right decisions.
“We didn’t get out of the blocks quick enough at the start of the second half. It felt like Arsenal were the more proactive until they scored their goal.
“I felt we could get a goal at the end and we sent men forward. I’ve been in that situation as a player when you come off and think you could’ve got more out of a game, but we’ll learn from this.”
Arsenal manager Unai Emery: “I want more – more in the result and in the performance but we are progressing. We were competitive but we can do better. We can control moments with the ball better and take more chances in the box.
“We have young players who can take confidence. Bukayo [Saka] is progressing well but we need other players too. This is not the best in terms of points but one point can be good if we win next Sunday against Bournemouth.”
Man of the match – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
The best of the stats
- Manchester United’s haul of nine points after seven games is their worst tally at this stage of a top-flight season since 1989-90 (7 points).
- Arsenal are unbeaten in consecutive Premier League games at Old Trafford (D2) for the first time since January 2000.
- Arsenal (5) had more shots on target than Man Utd (4) in a Premier League game at Old Trafford for the first time since May 2009 (4-0).
- Manchester United have won 49 points from their 28 Premier League games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – two fewer than they won in their final 28 games under Jose Mourinho.
- McTominay’s goal was his first for Manchester United at Old Trafford, in his 25th home game for the club in all competitions.
- Since his Manchester United debut in February 2016, Rashford has been directly involved in 71 goals for the Red Devils in all competitions (48 goals, 23 assists), eight more than any other player.
- Saka has registered four goal involvements in just three starts for Arsenal in all competitions this season (1 goal, 3 assists).
A man found dead in north-west London was killed in a drive-by shooting, police said.
The 24-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound in Malden Road, Kentish Town, late on Sunday.
CCTV revealed two people on a moped had pulled up to the victim, pulled out a gun and fired at close range. The man died at the scene.
An eyewitness described how he tried to perform CPR on the man with the help of a 999 operator.
Will, who did not want to give his full name, said: “There were a number of people around him when I got down there, but nobody was doing anything.
“With the aid of the operator on the phone, I performed CPR. But I think he was already dead then.”
Officers said they were keen to trace people who had been in a Toyota Prius, a Ford Focus and a motorbike in the area at the time.
The man’s next of kin have been informed and post-mortem tests are due to be held on Tuesday, police said.
Det Ch Insp Simon Stancombe, from the Met Police, said: “Everything we have found out so far points to this being a drive-by shooting.”
He urged eyewitnesses or anyone with dashcam footage to contact the force.
The killing was the second fatal shooting in less than 12 hours in London.
A man in his 20s was shot dead in Sydenham, south-east London, on Sunday afternoon.
A third man has been charged with murdering a 26-year-old who was shot dead in north-west London.
Kwasi Mensah-Ababio was found with head injuries in Monks Park, Wembley, shortly after 19:00 BST on 7 July.
Taalib Rowe, 24, will appear at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with murder.
Alhassan Jalloh, 20, and Karlos Gracia, 22, both of Stonebridge Park, have also been charged with Mr Mensah-Ababio’s murder.
A man has been arrested on suspicion of the murders of a pregnant woman and her baby son who died days after being delivered.
Kelly Mary Fauvrelle, 26, who was eight months pregnant, was stabbed to death in her home in Croydon on 29 June.
Her son Riley was delivered by paramedics but died on 3 July.
The Metropolitan Police said a 25-year-old man had been arrested and was being held at a central London police station.
He is the third man to be arrested on suspicion of the murders.
A 37-year-old was released with no further action while a 29-year-old was bailed until a date in August.
Police were called by the London Ambulance Service at 03:30 BST to Raymead Avenue, Thornton Heath, where Ms Fauvrelle was in cardiac arrest.
Despite the efforts of paramedics, she died at the scene.
Ms Fauvrelle’s family – including her mother, two brothers, sister and sister’s baby son – were all at the home at the time of the attack and were woken by her screams. However, none of them saw her attacker.
Her son was delivered at the scene but died in hospital.
A man in his 30s has been shot dead in north-west London.
The victim was found with gunshot wounds in Harrow Road, Wembley, at about 20:00 BST on Friday.
He was taken to hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.
Scotland Yard said the man’s next of kin had been informed, and a post-mortem examination would be carried out. No-one has been arrested and a crime scene remains in place.
A man believed to be in his late 20s has been stabbed to death in east London.
Police were called to the junction of Ron Leighton Way and Wakefield Street in East Ham, Newham, at about 23:00 BST on Saturday where they found the wounded man.
He was pronounced dead at the scene and his next of kin have been notified.
Scotland Yard said a post-mortem examination and formal identification of the victim would take place.
A murder investigation has been launched and anyone with information has been urged to contact police.
A man has died two days after being stabbed in a “seemingly unprovoked” attack in north London.
The 33-year-old was stabbed in the leg at about 03:00 BST on Saturday, near the junction between Seven Sisters Road and Vartry Road.
He was treated at the scene by medics before being taken to a north London hospital, where he died on Monday.
His next of kin have been informed, although a formal identification has yet to take place.
A post-mortem examination will be arranged in due course, police said.
The Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Unit is leading the investigation, but has made no arrests.
Witnesses have been asked to contact police.