Manchester United defeated Arsenal 3-2 on Thursday night to get back to winning ways in the Premier League thanks to a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo.
A couple of changes for United tonight. Harry Maguire, Diogo Dalot and Cristiano Ronaldo replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matic.
United were put under pressure early after Jadon Sancho turned the ball over in his own box. Arsenal nearly scored on the first corner, but Marcus Rashford awkwardly cleared and United did well defensively against another couple of Arsenal corners.
Dalot got the first shot off for United after a spell of poor play from both sides. Bad passes and players getting the ball taken off was common early. Arsenal did a good job of pressing his early. Aubameyang also found space for a shot, but the Dalot and Aubameyang hit their left-footed shots straight at the keepers.
Thomas Partey dribbled into trouble in a bad spot, United took possession, but Ronaldo could not capitalize and his left-footed shot whimpered wide.
Arsenal looked to have taken the lead and maybe should have when Emile Smith Rowe’s left footed shot after a corner went in, but David de Gea was on the ground after being stepped on by Fred. It is not like Smith Rowe could see if de Gea was on the ground.
After consulting with VAR, Arsenal got the goal, weird situation. United down 1-0.
United were more aggressive in the first half then they have been in previous matches. After losing the ball they pressed Arsenal high and swarmed the player in possession with the ball to gain possession high up the pitch, but still lacked what to dow with it after winning the ball.
United dominated possession and the field after the Arsenal goal, but it was Arsenal who got the next best chance when Gabriel Martinelli found space in the box. His shot was weak and wide.
United got their deserved goal after a great sequence of passing. Maguire was his high up the pitch and found Jadon Sancho, he got space and found Fred who pulled it back for Bruno Fernandes. Bruno cooly beat Aaron Ramsdale to break his goal drought.
De Gea kept the score level when he pulled off a great reaction save from a corner. Ronaldo almost put the Red Devils in front after a nasty cut back opened up a left-footed shot, but it was saved by Ramsdale’s hip.
Ronaldo would get his goal. His 800th goal of all time for club and country. Rashford was found in space down the right side, he squared it for Ronaldo who could not miss the huge opening back post to give United the 2-1 lead.
Arsenal leveled immediately on their next possession. Martinelli found space on their right side, Alex Telles could not close down fast enough and he found Odegaard open just inside the box. Odegaard redirected the pass to far post with his weaker right foot, 2-2.
The match became really stretched after the hour mark. Both sides not keen to share the points.
Odegaard would turn from hero to zero in 10 minutes after he fouled Fred in the box. VAR awarded the penalty and Ronaldo smashed it down the middle to give Arsenal the 3-2 lead with 20 minutes remaining in the match.
United did well to see out the match and were not really threatened by Arsenal after going up. A couple of half chances is all the Gunners could muster down the stretch.
United’s Key Performers
Ronaldo got the brace and was great all match, probably the man of the match for most people. Bruno, Rashford and Sancho were all good on the night going forward.
Two of the best performers were at the back. Telles and Victor Lindelof were great most of the match. Telles should have closed down Martinelli for the second goal sooner, but was fantastic all night, especially when defending in one-v-one situations.
Lindelof was a rock at the back and has put it in some quietly good performances since the injury of Raphael Varane. Lindelof probably did not put a foot wrong at first glance and deserves a shout.
McFred was good in the middle. Fred had a really good match. De Gea probably should not have went down, but made up for it was a good save in the second half.
United take on Palace Sunday.