Manchester United 0 Arsenal 1

Sunday 12 May 2024 18:38

Manchester United pushed Premier League title contenders Arsenal all the way at Old Trafford before succumbing to a slender 1-0 defeat.

Leandro Trossard's close-range finish in the 20th minute proved to be the difference between the sides but the Gunners, who needed a win to regain top spot after rivals Manchester City's emphatic 4-0 triumph at Fulham, were given plenty of anxious moments by the likes of Amad and Alejandro Garnacho.

Garnacho tormented Arsenal's highly rated right-back Ben White throughout the contest and was still running and firing shots at David Raya's goal deep into second-half injury time, when the glorious weekend weather in Manchester was swept aside by a thunderstorm and torrential rain.

Admittedly, Andre Onana was the busier of the two goalkeepers, producing top-drawer saves to keep out shots from Gabriel Martinelli and Declan Rice that could have made their manager Mikel Arteta's afternoon much less stressful.

While the Gunners move on to hoping their north London neighbours Tottenham do them a favour against City on Tuesday night, the eighth-placed Reds will prepare for a key midweek fixture of our own - at home to sixth-placed Newcastle United with qualification for European football next season at stake.


United were again without captain Bruno Fernandes - missing a game due to injury for only the second time in his entire club career - and Marcus Rashford, who remains one short of his 400th appearance of the Reds.

The ongoing issues in defence meant midfielder Casemiro remained at centre-back alongside Jonny Evans but, further forward, Ten Hag made three changes from the line-up that lost to Crystal Palace on Monday night.

Sofyan Amrabat and Scott McTominay came in for Christian Eriksen and the injured Mason Mount, while Amad made his first United start since May 2021 as a replacement for Antony.
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The young Ivory Coast international featured as the Reds began the game on the front foot. Amad carried a threat at least to the edge of Arsenal's box, where Gabriel and William Saliba were looking to maintain their imperious form, but on one notable occasion he breached the 18-yard line and went down under a challenge. The away fans' hearts were surely in their mouths for at least a moment but referee Paul Tierney declined to award a penalty.

By that point, Arsenal were ahead, having taken the lead in the 20th minute - arguably against the run of play. Kai Havertz, something of a renaissance man in their ranks, cut the ball back low from the right-hand flank and Trossard met it inside the six-yard box to convert at the Stretford End.

United's key chances in the first half fell to Rasmus Hojlund, who unfortunately slipped at the point of execution and sent his shot high and wide, and Alejandro Garnacho, whose better attempt also cleared the crossbar.
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There was a similar opening to the action in the latter 45, with United being the first side to launch an attack of note.

Surging forward in the no.10 role, McTominay fed Garnacho on the left and the young Argentinian again drove at White. He managed to get a shot away but it soared into the side netting instead of beating Raya, much to the relief of the away fans and their animated manager Arteta.

Onana's goal came under more direct threat in the 79th minute when Martinelli cut inside from the left and fired a shot that seemed destined to give the visitors a more comfortable lead. However, our Cameroonian goalkeeper - winner of April's Save of the Month award - produced another stunning stop for his showreel, leaping high to his left and pawing the ball over his bar. Later, he dived low in the same direction to tip Rice's curling effort past the post. 

After five substitutions, which brought Antony, Eriksen and Academy products Omari Forson, Willy Kambwala and Ethan Wheatley all into the fray, United's reshaped side strived for an equaliser that would have restored some pride after a difficult week.

It was another graduate of our youth system, Garnacho, who threatened to unleash hell on Arsenal's title hopes as the heavens opened over Old Trafford. But while his final shot across the Gunners' bows caused Raya to fling himself to his right, the ball flashed wide and Arteta's men saw out a vital 1-0 win.

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United: Onana; Dalot, Casemiro, Evans (Kambwala, 75), Wan-Bissaka (Forson, 87); Amrabat (Eriksen, 87), Mainoo; Amad (Antony, 70), McTominay (c), Garnacho; Hojlund (Wheatley, 88).

Substitutes not used: Bayindir, Amass, Ogunneye, Collyer.

Bookings: None.

Arsenal: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Odegaard (c) (Jorginho, 90+3), Partey (Kiwior, 90+3), Rice; Saka (Jesus, 82), Havertz, Trossard (Martinelli, 66).

Substitutes not used: Ramsdale, Zinchenko, Smith-Rowe, Vieira, Nketiah.

Bookings: Raya, Saka.