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Match Report: Manchester United 1-3 Arsenal

by Mathew Cohen

Manchester United fell to a 3-1 defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in what was a hard-fought match.

Despite being on the back foot, Man United looked confident at the start, with Lisandro Martinez completing a cheeky dribble against Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah.

United also showed confidence on the press, with goalkeeper Andre Onana comfortably making his way out of goal to provide strong linkup play with his midfielders.

While the home side attempted to push forward, the United backline remained strong, with Antony and Casemiro making particularly firm tackles within minutes of each other to turn possession over to the Red Devils.

Fernandes also impressed with a sliding interception in Arsenal’s final third, however, his pass to Marcus Rashford on the left went astray.

12 minutes in, United’s defence faced their first real test when Martinelli charged into their final third.

Ultimately, a misplaced pass by Kai Havertz and Nketiah’s failure to capitalize on the loose ball meant that United could breathe a sigh of relief.

Still, this opportunity appeared to kick Arsenal into gear, with the Gunners continuing to bombard United’s penalty box in the coming minutes.

In the 27th minute, United turned the game on its head, grabbing the lead despite being on the back foot for most of the game.

Christian Eriksen lofted the ball up to Rashford, who blazed down the left wing and cut into the box where he unleashed a shot that sailed past three defenders and goalkeeper Ramsdale to hand United the advantage.

Moments later, United’s elation came to an end, as Arsenal launched a quick counter-attack in which Odegaard caught United’s defence off guard with a long-range shot to level the score yet again.

Onana could be seen signaling with his arms and instructing his teammates to calm down after what could only be described as a momentary lapse of concentration which Arsenal had the awareness to exploit.

32 minutes in, United were on the attack yet again, with Rashford expertly cutting back the ball to Eriksen, who took a long-range shot that was deflected for a corner.

During the final 10 minutes of the first half, United controlled 67% possession, marking the first phase of the match when they were controlling the flow of play.

While Arsenal was the more dominant team overall going into the half-time break, United proved to be dangerous on the counter-attack – something that Erik ten Hag would want his team to capitalize on in the second half.

In the 53rd minute, United got their first real chance of the second half, when Martial fired a shot from the left that forced a save from the Arsenal keeper and Rashford’s follow-up shot was blocked just metres from the goal line.

The excitement started building for United fans when new striker Rasmus Hojlund was spotted warming up on the touchline, potentially getting ready to make his United debut.

Moments later, United appeared to be in major trouble as Havertz appeared to be taken down by Wan-Bissaka in the penalty box.

Upon closer review, referee Anthony Taylor determined that no contact was made, thereby dismissing the penalty call and allowing the visitors to breathe a sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, Martinez appeared to be injured after overstretching during a slide tackle on Nketiah, getting himself a yellow card in the process.

With Harry Maguire coming on to replace Martinez, Hojlund’s moment had arrived, as the 20-year-old came on to replace Martial

Minutes after coming on, Hojlund had his first opportunity to score his first United goal.

Rashford weaved his way past the Arsenal defence on the left side of the penalty box, passing the ball off to Hojlund in the centre, albeit just too close to Ramsdale who managed to claim the ball.

Rashford continued to be a nuisance to the home team’s defence, laying off a shot that was put out for a corner.

In a cleverly worked attack, Gabriel Martinelli made his way past several defenders before the ball fell to Bukayo Saka, whose shot right in front of goal was expertly saved by Onana.

With under seven minutes left of normal time, Ten Hag decided to bring on some fresh legs, with Alejandro Garnacho replacing Antony on the right while veteran Jonny Evans marked his return to the club by coming on for Victor Lindelof.

In a blistering counterattack, it appeared as if Hojlund enjoyed his first goal involvement, playing an expert backheeled pass to Garnacho, who slotted the ball past Ramsdale to put United back in the lead with three minutes to go of normal time.

Unfortunately, Garnacho was adjudicated to be offside by a fraction, meaning that the score would remain at 1-1 as the board for eight minutes of stoppage time was hoisted into the air.

With three minutes left to play, Declan Rice got on the end of a corner kick, volleying the ball into the back of the net to put Arsenal in front.

To rub salt in the wounds, Arsenal caught United off guard with a swift counter-attacking move as Gabriel Jesus scored a third for the home team.

Sadly, it wasn’t United’s day, with the team falling to a crushing defeat despite putting up a strong fight.

Ten Hag will no doubt have a lot of introspection to do in an effort to understand where it all went wrong for United.

Starting XI: Onana, Lindelof, Martinez, Fernandes, Martial, Rashford, Eriksen, Casemiro, Dalot, Antony, Wan-Bissaka

Subs: Hojlund, Maguire, Evans, Garnacho

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