Arsenal 3 Manchester United 1

Sunday 03 September 2023 18:45

Manchester United were hit by two sucker punches in second-half injury time, as Arsenal came from behind to claim all three points at the Emirates Stadium.

Marcus Rashford broke the deadlock with a stunning 27th-minute strike - his first goal of the season - but our lead lasted for just 35 seconds, as Gunners captain Martin Odegaard rounded off a fine team move to level the score.

Arsenal were initially awarded a second-half penalty when Kai Havertz went to ground after running between Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Casemiro, but a VAR check led to referee Anthony Taylor overturning his own decision.

VAR later worked against United, when what seemed to be an 88th-minute winner by substitute Alejandro Garnacho was ruled out by the tightest of offside calls.

That controversial decision left the scoreline level as the game headed into injury time, and it was then that the Gunners struck twice, through Declan Rice with a deflected shot following a corner and Gabriel Jesus's accomplished finish after the Brazilian sub broke clear from the halfway line.
Marcus Rashford opened the scoring - and his account for the season - in the 27th minute.

After an uneventful first 12 minutes, the 13th proved unlucky for Arsenal when their summer signing from Chelsea, Kai Havertz, miskicked a golden opportunity in the United penalty area. Lisandro Martinez stuck out a timely foot to prevent Eddie Nketiah snaffling the loose ball.

At this stage, the Gunners were on top and threatening to make their home advantage count. But some resilient defending from Ten Hag's men kept the hosts at bay and instead enabled Rashford to find the breakthough, against the run of play.

Christian Eriksen, formerly of Arsenal's north London neighbours Spurs, threaded a perfect pass into our no.10's path, on his favoured left flank. Even with his legendary pace, there was still plenty for Rashford to do but he made light work of cutting inside Ben White and William Saliba and slamming a right-footed shot past Aaron Ramsdale, via the inside of the right-hand post.

Instead of being blown off course, last season's league runners-up stuck to their guns and produced their best move of the half to equalise instantly. From the left flank, Oleksandr Zinchenko fed Eddie Nketiah and when he moved the ball on to Gabriel Martinelli, the Brazilian cut it back for Odegaard, arriving at the edge of the area, to beat Andre Onana.


United went close to regaining the lead in the 55th minute, only for two efforts in quick succession to be repelled. Anthony Martial's shot at the near post was pushed away by Ramsdale and then White stepped up to block Rashford's drive on the rebound.

The Gunners were seemingly gifted a chance to take the lead when Havertz tumbled and referee Taylor pointed to the spot, just after the hour mark. But VAR intervened and the penalty kick was cancelled, keeping the parity intact.

Arsenal should have legitimately gone ahead with 10 minutes of normal time left but England forward Bukayo Saka fluffed a shot from the six-yard line, hitting it straight at the grateful Onana.

The hosts were almost made to pay dearly for that miss when Casemiro's incisive pass set Garnacho free and the Argentinian kept his cool to hammer a low finish past Ramsdale. At first glance, it looked tight but the assistant referee kept his flag down and United celebrations ensued. On second viewing, courtesy of the VAR screens at Stockley Park, the young United sub was shown to be fractionally offside.

Like Garnacho, Rasmus Hojlund also came off the bench to bolster United's attack. The Dane looked lively but unfortunately no real chances for a dream debut goal came his way.
As if having a goal chalked off wasn't painful enough for the Reds, our woes were compounded in the sixth minute of injury time when Saka's corner from the right could not be adequately cleared. Lurking at the far post, Rice gleefully crashed a shot in off Jonny Evans, who appeared to be impeded before striving to close down the scorer.

Finally, United were caught on the counter attack when pushing forward in search of what would have been a deserved point. Instead of equalising, the Reds conceded as Gabriel Jesus sprinted clear from the centre circle, shifted the ball past Evans and bent his shot around Onana to finally kill the contest in the 100th minute. 
United captain Bruno Fernandes challenges Declan Rice, the scorer of Arsenal's second goal.

Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko (Tomiyasu, 76); Rice, Odegaard (Jorginho, 99); Saka, Havertz (Vieira, 77), Martinelli (Nelson, 90); Nketiah (Jesus, 76).

Substitutes: Raya, Kiwior, Smith Rowe, Trossard.

Goals: Odegaard 28, Rice 90+6, Jesus 90+11.

Saka, Jesus.

Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof (Evans, 84), Martinez (Maguire, 67), Dalot; Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony (Garnacho, 84), Fernandes, Rashford; Martial (Hojlund, 67).

Bayindir, Reguilon, Pellistri, Gore, Hannibal. 

Rashford 27.

Lindelof, Martinez, Onana.

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