Who was our Man of the Match against Arsenal?

Sunday 23 July 2023 01:33

An impressive 2-0 win over Premier League big-hitters Arsenal on Saturday was unquestionably Manchester United's best performance of pre-season 2023 so far.

Twenty-two Reds were involved across the 90 minutes, due to Erik ten Hag changing all 10 outfield players at the interval, plus a second-half injury to Amad. And there were a series of impressive individual performances across the squad.

New club captain Bruno Fernandes delivered our first goal, before Jadon Sancho doubled the advantage shortly after, but plenty of other Reds shone in front of a record crowd at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Following the full-time whistle - and a pre-agreed penalty shootout - we invited supporters to vote in the United App to decide our standout player. And it was a close-run contest, as you'll see below...
Bruno's brilliant opener Video

Bruno's brilliant opener

📽️ MATCH MOMENT | Bruno opens the scoring against Arsenal in sublime style...

Bruno Fernandes promised United fans he'd represent the captain's armband with characteristic pride and intensity, after being announced as our new skipper, and he delivered just half an hour into his first appearance of 2023/24.

Set up by Kobbie Mainoo, his left-footed shot proved too hot to handle for Gunners goalie Aaron Ramsdale. Throughout his first 45 minutes of the season, Fernandes was typically industrious, full of imagination and endeavour, despite the relentless summer heat.

Assist aside, Mainoo was generally impressive as part of a midfield three alongside Bruno and Mason Mount, displaying admirable maturity and confidence for a youngster.

Sancho also excelled.

He accelerated away from Arsenal's backline to score United's second in the 37th minute, and that burst of pace suggested the forward's fitness and strength is building nicely ahead of his crucial third United season.

The three players mentioned above garnered the lion's share of our supporter votes, but it was Fernandes who triumphed - just! The Portuguese garnered 36 per cent of our vote, narrowly ahead of Mainoo (34 per cent) with Sancho trailing in third with 11 per cent.
Who was Man of the Match?poll

Who was Man of the Match?

There were several other players that easily merited places on the podium. Luke Shaw made an expert return to first-team action, delivering one particularly memorable aerial ball to Fernandes during the first few minutes.

Fourth in our vote was veteran goalkeeper Tom Heaton (six per cent). The Academy graduate made smart saves to deny both of Gabriel Martintelli's bites at a simple early chance, and then cut an imposing figure before Fabio Vieira skewed his penalty over the bar to decide the pre-agreed post-match exhibition penalty shootout.

In fifth came Lisandro Martinez, whose deliciously robust challenges during the first half demolished any sense of friendliness to the occasion. How glad we are to see him back, after the foot injury that curtailed his seriously impressive debut season at Old Trafford.

Well done to all the squad on another encouraging performance, and congratulations to our Man-of-the-Match-winner, Bruno!