Manchester United added another counter-attacking masterclass to the history books in their encounter against Arsenal in Friday’s FA Cup fourth-round win, says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Red Devils were electric on the break at Emirates Stadium and ran out 3-1 winners, thanks to goals from ex-Gunner Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial.
Solskjaer believes it was no coincidence this tactic proved fruitful, pointing to past examples – including the 2009 Champions League semi-final – as proof of his point.
‘If you go through the history and the games we’ve played against Arsenal, that’s how it is,’ he told MUTV.
‘I remember a goal I scored in 1997 after we defended a corner – it went from Giggsy [Ryan Giggs] to Karel [Poborsky] to Andy [Cole] and into me.
‘Everyone knows about the classic Champions League goal [in 2009] with Ji [Park Ji-sung], Cristiano [Ronaldo] and Wayne [Rooney] running forward.
‘Wazza has scored a couple more like that, as has Ji, so the counter-attacking threat that we have is in our history against Arsenal.’
One tactical surprise was the deployment of Romelu Lukaku on the right of a front three, with Lingard playing more centrally.
But Lukaku vindicated the decision by assisting the first two goals, and Solskjaer says it is a tactic he is happy to employ.
‘Rom has played there for Belgium and Everton,’ he added at a post-match news conference.
‘It’s a tactic we can use and we know how strong he is. He held the ball up and ran the channel. It was a fantastic pass for Alexis’ goal. It was a great finish.’
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Solskjaer also reserved special praise for Lingard, who has at times split opinion among pundits.
‘Jesse’s a big-game player,’ Solskjaer said. ‘He’s shown that for England, for us. He always pops up with goals.
‘Jesse is someone we never, never hesitate to put in a Man United team and he’s been brought through this system, he knows what this means, he knows the club, he knows this history, he knows all the counter-attacking goals we’ve scored against Arsenal.
‘He knows everything about the club and he’s someone we’ll look after.’
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