Manchester United vs Arsenal: Red-hot Red Devils end Gunners’ perfect start
Manchester United beat Arsenal 3-1 at Old Trafford as the Red Devils made it four-straight wins in the Premier League and ended the Gunners’ perfect start to the season.
[ MORE: Erik ten Hag, Rashford react to big win ]
New $100 million signing Antony opened the scoring on his debut and Marcus Rashford scored twice in the second half as United were totally committed and Erik ten Hag was a very happy man.
Bukayo Saka had made it 1-1 early in the second half and Mikel Arteta’s side played their part in a top quality game which also had some VAR drama in the first half as a Gabriel Martinelli goal was ruled out for a foul on the excellent Christian Eriksen.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
With the win United now have 12 points from a possible 18 this season as they’ve totally turned things around, while Arsenal have 15 points and after five-straight wins to open the campaign they suffered their first defeat but still sit top of the Premier League table.
What we learned from Manchester United vs Arsenal
VAR gets it spot on to deny Martinelli’s goal: At 0-0 Odegaard nudged Eriksen off the ball in midfield, Saka found Martinelli and the latter slotted home. Arsenal had caught United out but after VAR intervened, the goal was chalked out for a clear foul on Eriksen. Was it aggressive and over the top? No. Was it obviously a foul? Yes. Odegaard used both of his arms to push Eriksen in the back and that is a foul. VAR is used to overturn a clear and obvious error and this fell under that category.
Aggressive United rattle Arsenal’s slick youngsters: In waves Arsenal’s slick attackers pulled United all over the place. But it was United’s blunt aggression which ground Arsenal down over the 90 minutes. McTominay rattled into challenges, Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane kept chipping away at the lively Gabriel Jesus and Diogo Dalot and Tyrell Malacia both never stopped surging up and down their flank. Arsenal’s young side were very impressive but United just battered them.
Antony proved his class: All eyes were on him after his $100 million move from Ajax and the Brazilian proved he’s the man for the big stage. He didn’t score or assist that much at Ajax as he’s all about dictating the tempo of the play and creating openings. But he’s already shown he has end product to go with his flashy skills and this goal will do his confidence (something he isn’t short of) the world of good. Along with Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia and Casemiro, United’s five new signings will all play their part in reshaping this team. It is early days but it seems like United’s recruitment is finally going somewhere. (JPW)
Erik ten Hag reaction: How have Man United improved so much?
“Credit with the spirit in this team,” Ten Hag said. “They can deal with setbacks and we did. A team can do that. I think we’ve really improved the mentality. ... I know we have the right characters. Now it’s about cooperation, get the resilience in, deal with setbacks but also belief. There’s room for improvement. First 10 minutes, then goal was canceled. We lost a little bit of composure.” (NM)
Marcus Rashford reaction: Even game vs a very good team
“They are a good team. They know their principles of play and are very good at it. They are a good possession-based team and offer lots of difficulties with players dropping into pockets and with attacking threats. It is what we expected. I thought it was an even game. There were big spaces in the first half we couldn’t exploit. We managed to do that in the second half.” (NM)
Mikel Arteta reaction: Disappointment with VAR, happy with performance
On VAR call that took goal away from Martinelli: “Lack of consistency. One is soft and last week they made a foul on Aaron [Ramsdale] but it is soft, it is not a foul. There is a foul on Bukayo [Saka], it is soft but not a penalty. Today it is a foul. The threshold in the first actions, you could see there is no yellow card because they want to keep a threshold in a big game. Really difficult to understand.”
Says Arsenal played well enough to win: “I am really disappointed to lose the game especially with the way it went over the 95 minutes. We had some big periods where we were totally dominant and in total control. We created chance after chance but did not close the game. In any moment, when they have open spaces, they are goPhoto by Michael Regan/Getty Imagesing to hurt you.” (NM)
United came flying out of the traps with their newfound aggression but Arsenal gradually dictated the tempo of the play and were unlucky to not be ahead before Antony struck. Antony’s goal summed up the directness of Erik ten Hag’s side over the last few games as Eriksen found Fernandes in midfield and three forward passes set up the chance which Antony put away. In the second half Zinchenko pinched inside even more to try and create midfield overloads and Arsenal were deservedly level. But that directness from the first goal worked for United’s second and third goals too as they figured out that Arsenal had no real protection ahead of their defense with Thomas Partey badly missed. (JPW)
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Stars of the show
Scott McTominay: Dominant in midfield as he rattled into challenges and provided a shield centrally. Casemiro is breathing down his neck for a starting spot and although McTominay isn’t a star, he is doing a very important job for United which was summed up by his late clearance to deny Arsenal.
Christian Eriksen: Involved in all three goals and oozed class from his new deeper central midfield role. Found Bruno Fernandes centrally with those key passes to get United on the front foot quickly. That is so important to how they want to play under Erik ten Hag.
Bukayo Saka: Caused so many problems and grabbed his goal in the second half. United were very scared of him and often doubled up to try and stop him surging forward. Martin Odegaard was also excellent in midfield. Arsenal won’t be too upset with their display. (JPW)
Manchester United host Real Sociedad on Thursday, Sept. 8 in the UEFA Europa League group stage opener and then travel to Crystal Palace on Sunday, Sept. 11 in the Premier League. Arsenal head to FC Zurich in the Europa League on Thursday and then host Everton on Sunday.
How to watch Manchester United vs Arsenal live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 11:30 am ET, Sunday TV: USA Network Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Manchester United vs Arsenal live analysis! - By Joe Prince-Wright
FULL TIME: Manchester United 3-1 Arsenal. Celebrations at Old Trafford as Erik ten Hag looks as cool as a cucumber. Look at what it means to these United players and their fans. Wow. Old Trafford is rocking.
Arsenal are trying their best to get back into this but United are so resilient now and Cristiano Ronaldo has almost been set free on a few counters as Arsenal take more chances.
GOALLLL! Manchester United 3-1 up. United catch out Arsenal’s high line and Eriksen sets up Marcus Rashford to slot home. Excellent composure from Eriksen. Game. Set. Match.
GOALLL! Marcus Rashford puts Manchester United 2-1 up. Old Trafford erupts. Just as Arsenal were all over United, another direct attack leads to a goal. Eriksen to Fernandes to Rashford. Boom. What a pass from Bruno and Rashford keeps his cool to slot home.
GOALLL! Bukayo Saka makes it 1-1. Boy, they deserved that. Arsenal have been excellent at the start of the second half. Martin Odegaard with an excellent pass, Gabriel Jesus causes problems and Saka slots the loose ball home. Game on at Old Trafford!
Substitute for United, as Ronaldo is on for Antony. The debutant gets a standing ovation from Old Trafford.
A run down the left ends in a cross clipped to the back post but it hits the top of the bar. Mikel Arteta looks happy with what he’s seeing.
Arsenal fans singing to Manchester United supporters about the referee: “Paul Tierney, he’s one of your own.” Banter is flowing at Old Trafford, as well as chances for Arsenal...
It is all Arsenal at the start of the second half. Gabriel Jesus runs clear and sets up Odegaard but the Norwegian star gets his shot all wrong. Moments later Saka smashes a shot wide but is then caught by Tyrell Malacia. No penalty kick given but Saka was definitely caught after the ball had gone. Hmm. Arsenal’s players are delighted with that decision.
HALF TIME: And exhale. What a 45 minutes that was. Incredible intensity and both teams flying into tackles. Full throttle football. Antony has Manchester United 1-0 up at the break but Arsenal have had plenty of chances (and that disallowed goal) which will give them hope of launching a second half comeback.
GOALLLL! Antony on his Manchester United debut puts Manchester United 1-0 up. Lovely finish and great play by Rashford to set him up. “Take a bow, new boy!” says Peter Drury. What a moment for the $100 million signing.
Eriksen found Fernandes to set up the chance and what a lovely pass from Rashford to find Antony. Talk about making a statement on your Premier League debut.
💫🔥🔴 The $100 million new signing Antony scores and sends Old Trafford wild on his Manchester United and Premier League debut!— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) September 4, 2022
What a lovely fluid move from United and what a great pass from Marcus Rashford.#MUFC 1-0 #AFC #MUNARS pic.twitter.com/NXONVABLQT
Arsenal buoyed by that lovely counter on their no-goal. United are sitting a bit deeper now. Saka causing Malacia lots of problems here.
NO GOAL! Just as United looked so dangerous, Arsenal thought they had taken the lead through a lovely finish from Gabriel Martinelli on the break. Hang on, though. VAR has a look and Martin Odegaard clearly used his hands to push Christian Eriksen in the back to set up the attack. Tough to argue with that goal being chalked off by VAR. And it is no goal after referee Paul Tierney looked at the pitch-side monitor. Lovely play from Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli on that disallowed goal, though.
CHANCE! Great cross from Dalot after clever play from Antony and Christian Eriksen arrives at the back post but he volleys wide. Good stuff from United.
KICK OFF! Old Trafford is rocking. Both teams have gone for it early on with Diogo Dalot surging into the box but nobody was on the end of it. Gabriel Jesus is brought down by Lisandro Martinez. Free kick to Arsenal.
What a clash this will be at Old Trafford today, as Erik ten Hag’s United host red-hot Arsenal with both teams aiming to put down a marker early in the season. Strap in, folks!
United have won three-straight games after opening the season with two shocking defeats and their recent success has been built on a newfound defensive resilience. $100 million deadline day signing Antony comes in to the starting lineup to make his debut, which will excite United’s fans across the globe.
However, Arsenal are leaving pretty much everyone feeling excited about them as Mikel Arteta’s young side have won five from five to start the season. With key players (Odegaard, Zinchenko and Ramsdale) shaking off injuries to be ready for this clash, let’s see if the young Gunners are the real deal and can stay perfect. (JPW)
Key storylines & star players
13 goals scored, four conceded. Even more impressive than the numbers is the ease, fluidity and artistry with which Arsenal have romped every side they’ve faced. Three different players have already scored three goals in the Premier League, as Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard lead the way. Jesus has three assists as well, though Erling Haaland has all but sewn up “signing of the season” after scoring nine goals in his first five games for Man City, who moved on from Jesus in the summer to make room for Haaland. Sunday will, though, see Arsenal face a side which poses real danger going the other way if they lose the ball and don’t transition back to defending quickly and sharply enough.
As for Manchester United, Erik ten Hag needs to see continued progress from a side which has won three straight games (after losing their first two, including a 4-0 embarrassment against Brentford) and made a pair of key signings in the final days of the summer transfer window (Casemiro and Antony). Cristiano Ronaldo remains at the club after failing to secure a transfer away as he requested, potentially complicating matters even more for Ten Hag, whose side has looked far more functional and balanced when the Portuguese superstar isn’t on the field. (AE)
Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Anthony Martial (achilles), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Facundo Pellistri (ankle), Mason Greenwood (suspension - MORE)
Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Thomas Partey (quad), Mohamed Elneny (thigh), Reiss Nelson (undisclosed)