Louis van Gall set-up his Manchester United side against Arsenal with a specific game plan in mind. Using a 3-5-2 formation, he wanted to invite Arsenal forward, soak up the pressure and hit them on the counter-attack. That’s precisely how the game panned out in the second half.
With United in the lead thanks to a deflected Antonio Valencia shot, the second half was set-up precisely how Van Gaal wanted it and the reward came through a Wayne Rooney goal off the back of a lightning quick counter-attack.
That’s what the 3-5-2 is designed for, counter-attacking football. Arjen Robben was the man who led Holland on the counter-attack at World Cup and Angel di Maria fulfilled that role against Arsenal. It was a beautiful goal
You can have all the 30-yard volleys and wonderful solo goals in the world but nothing beats a well executed team counter-attack.
Of course, United have scored more than one memorable counter-attack against Arsenal at the Emirates and that might be why Rooney’s goal felt so good because it evoked fantastic memories of goals from the past.