Antony and Marcus Rashford stole the show as Manchester United ran out 3-1 winners over Arsenal with Erik ten Hag outclassing Mikel Arteta at Old Trafford
Manchester United continued their impressive up-turn in form by securing a statement 3-1 win over Arsenal at Old Trafford on Super Sunday.
It was a fine performance from Erik ten Hag’s side as they recorded their fourth successive Premier League victory thanks to Marcus Rashford’s brace. Antony gave United the lead on his debut following his £86million move from Ajax, before Bukayo Saka levelled for the Gunners just after the break.
But the Red Devils caught Arsenal cold on the counter-attack, with Rashford finishing off a fine move. This was before the 24-year-old sealed the points late on as United moved up to fifth in the table. The Gunners, meanwhile, remain top despite losing their first game of the season. Here are five talking points from the game…
1. Arsenal unbeaten run over
The Gunners came into the clash as the only side to win all of their Premier League matches to date, and sat comfortably at the top of the table. However, they were undone by a fine counter-attacking performance from United as Mikel Arteta’s side rued missed chances and defensive errors.
Paul Merson warned the Gunners that the game was an ‘acid test’ to see where Arsenal are at, but they weren’t able to continue their fine run of form. It wasn’t a poor performance from the Gunners, but they lacked conviction in front of goal and that might worry Arteta after they squandered so many chances against Aston Villa in midweek.
2. Rashford finding form
There was plenty of criticism thrown at Marcus Rashford last season after he struggled for form, but Ten Hag has seemed to give him a new lease of life. The 24-year-old looks fitter, stronger and sharper, and looks like he is enjoying his football again in a new era at United.
Rashford led the line for the fourth successive game with Cristiano Ronaldo named on the bench once again, and he showed exactly why Ten Hag trusts him. Rashford grabbed an assist for Antony’s opener, before scoring his first goal of the afternoon. Jadon Sancho’s perfectly-executed pass found Rashford, and he tucked the ball past De Gea.
Then, Rashford would add his second of the game as Arsenal pushed for an equaliser. Christian Eriksen found himself one-on-one with Aaron Ramsdale, but he had the vision to square the ball across for Rashford, who tapped the ball into an empty net. That was his third goal of the season and his fourth goal involvement, with the attacker already posting impressive numbers and getting back to his best.
3. Antony shines on debut
It proved to be a debut to remember for Antony, who capped off a fine debut with a goal. The Brazilian showed confidence in the opening stages to take the ball in tight areas, pass with precision and cause Oleksandr Zinchenko plenty of issues. But it wasn’t until the half hour mark when he gave United the lead with a pristine piece of quality.
A flowing United move finished off with Rashford playing through Antony, who showed great composure to open up his body before side-footing the ball into the bottom corner. In the first-half, Antony made five final third passes and conjured-up one big chance, also showing he can create as well as finish. The 22-year-old’s debut came to an end in the 58th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo came on in his place.
4. VAR controversy
It is safe to say VAR hasn’t had its greatest weekend and there was more controversy in this one as Arsenal thought they took the lead in the 12th minute. Bukayo Saka played a wonderful pass through to Martinelli, who took his time before the slotting the ball beyond David de Gea.
However, after a lengthy check, referee Paul Tierney was informed by VAR to go over to look at the on-field screen. This was for a potential foul from Martin Odegaard on Christian Eriksen, who appeared to be clipped by the Arsenal midfield in the build-up to Martinelli’s goal. Inevitably, Tierney decided to change his mind and disallow the goal – to the frustration of the Arsenal players and Arteta.
5. Jesus’ “wow” moment
Lisandro Martinez has received mixed reviews from pundits and supporters after making the £55million move to Old Trafford from Ajax, but some would argue he faced his toughest test up against Jesus. The Arsenal forward had scored three goals and grabbed three assists in his opening five matches before the trip to Manchester, and was proving to be a nightmare for defenders
In the opening two minutes, Martinez set his stall on Jesus from the get-go. The Argentine made a firm challenge on Jesus in the second minute and it was followed by a scream of “wow” from the Brazilian.