Football/Soccer

Arsenal's Theo Walcott takes responsibility for Manchester United goal in draw

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (left) and Arsenal's Francis Coquelin battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester 
Simon Peach

ARSENAL'S Theo Walcott was disappointed with his part in Manchester United's goal in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Arsene Wenger's men are unbeaten in the Premier League since the opening day of the season as a result of Olivier Giroud's 89th-minute header, which cancelled out Juan Mata's opener midway through the second half.

However, the England international believed he could have made life harder for Mata before the Spaniard's low shot gave United the lead.

Walcott told Sky Sports: "I'm disappointed with my part in their goal, he was my man and I'm very disappointed with myself."

The 27-year-old acknowledged the title-chasing Gunners could have performed better - but was happy with the point.

Walcott continued: "I would say we'd want more from our first half performance - but it could be a fair result to get a point. But you want more if you are going to be challenging for the title.

"We've had a bit of a blip but we've still managed to get points. In years gone by we'd have probably lost this game...this has been a tough place for us to play. But the guys did well.

"We need to turn these draws into wins. We've got a lot of tough games coming up but we've got a strong squad."

Giroud's effort was Arsenal's only attempt on goal and Mata admitted: "It's very frustrating, we were really close to winning the game but this is the Premier League and football."

United boss Jose Mourinho afterwards insisted his side were "the unluckiest team in the Premier League."

He said: "I'm not going to say they (Arsenal) didn't want to win but they couldn't be the way they normally play football.

"We were phenomenal. From a defensive point of view we pressed and were very strong when we lost the ball and controlled their counter-attacks and their best players.

"We were very comfortable with the ball and played quality football, had a good goal and chances to kill the game.

"Then the only time that we had a situation we couldn't resolve, they scored a goal, so they were the lucky ones and we were the unlucky ones - but that's football."

The Portuguese would not criticise any of his players, pointing to their performance in their last three home games - with draws against Stoke and Burnley preceding Saturday's match.

He said: "We played very well as a team. I don't want to be critical. I'm very happy with the team but at the moment we're the unluckiest team in the Premier League.

"The team are playing well and working really well. I'm happy with the work and happy with the guys and super-happy with the fans - they know how to applaud a team that dropped two games at home, they know how to be fair."

On referee Andre Marriner's decision not to award Antonio Valencia a first-half penalty, Mourinho added: "I don't want to speak about it.

"He is the kind of ref that if he makes mistakes with my team there is no intention. I remember his words before the game, 'I don't want to be seen, I want to do my work the best I can' and he's right - he doesn't want to be a star. He wants to be an honest man and a good ref.

"I know because I've watched on video a few times but I don't want to say whether it was a mistake or not because he is a good ref."

Gunners boss Wenger said: "The result is positive but it was a scrappy game...when you are 1-0 down and come back to 1-1 you are happy.

"We lacked a bit of sharpness today, I don't know what it's down to but we had a good mental response to come back."

Asked if it was perhaps due to poor previous results at Old Trafford, the Frenchman added: "I wondered during the game if it might be that. Honestly you never know.

"Last year's we'd maybe have lost this game so hopefully we can move on and kick on against from now with some wins.

"We've a big game against Paris St Germain and I'm convinced we'll be better on Wednesday night."

 

Football/Soccer

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