Wild-shooting United fights to draw

The Associated Press

Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, center, jumps on the back of teammate Anthony Martial, who scored the team’s first goal, during Premier League action on Wednesday.

AFPMANCHESTER (AFP-Jiji) — Jose Mourinho accused his Manchester United players of shooting themselves in the foot as he saw his under-strength team gift Arsenal two goals in a 2-2 draw that extended their winless Premier League run to four games.

United, which started with Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku on the bench, showed great spirit to twice come back, with equalizers from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard earning a much-needed point.

But, after a defeat at Manchester City and dispiriting draws with Crystal Palace and Southampton, United is 18 points behind leader City and actually closer to the relegation positions than to first place.

United also trails Chelsea and Arsenal, which are now unbeaten in 20 games, by eight points in the battle for a place in the top four.

And Mourinho, who saw a bad David de Gea error and Marcos Rojo own goal twice hand Arsenal the lead, believes the performance continued the team’s run of self-inflicted harm.

“We scored four goals and we drew 2-2,” joked Mourinho.

“But we scored four goals and even in matches like today where we play well, we always shoot ourselves.

“Sometimes we miss chances with an open goal, other times defensive mistakes, but tonight there was a fantastic spirit, good performances.

“Our problem is finding a performance like this without the mistakes we made, and we had very good performances where we make mistakes and we are always punished.”

Mourinho’s frustration was especially understandable given that Arsenal’s opening goal, after 26 minutes, featured that rarest of collector’s items, a mistake by his Spanish international goalkeeper David de Gea.

Chris Smalling slipped at Lucas Torreira’s 26th minute corner, allowing Mustafi the space to send a free header bouncing into the ground and goalwards.

It looked a routine save for United’s No. 1 but he succeeded only in pushing the ball into the air, two-handed, over his own head and over the goalline, despite Ander Herrera’s desperation clearance.

But United responded within four minutes as Rojo, playing for the first time this season, unleashed a terrific free kick that Bernd Leno kept out at the foot of his left-hand post.

Herrera responded quickly, although replays suggested he might have been fractionally offside, reaching the loose ball on the by-line and turning it into the 6-yard area, where Martial was able to convert.

That dramatic pattern would be repeated after 68 minutes when Arsenal regained a lead the Gunners could only hold, on this occasion, for 74 seconds.Speech

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