Manchester United vs Arsenal was the most anticipated fixture of the weekend, alongside the Merseyside Derby, and it did not disappoint. A thrilling 3-1 victory against Manchester United provided many talking points.
The first was the new big money signing from Ajax – Antony. Despite a bit of a nervy start with Antony losing possession a few times, he provided the opening goal of the game with a calm first-time finish after a clever pass from Marcus Rashford. It’s a promising start for the winger and Manchester United fans appear to love him already. Marcus Rashford added to his assist with 2 goals in the second half which added to his solid start to the season. It is still clear he is more comfortable on the left rather than through the middle, but as the World Cup is approaching Rashford is doing what is needed if he wants to challenge for his spot in the England squad.
Man of the match went to Christian Eriksen, who has been one of the signings of the summer. He was excellent the whole game and by far the best midfielder on the pitch. In this deeper role Erik Ten Hag has played in him, he has thrived at keeping the ball and providing long passes for the attackers to run onto. He also provided the most final third passes for Manchester United and was rewarded with an assist as he unselfishly set up Rashford for his second goal.
Arsenal was by no means bad in this game and the scoreline may be a bit generous in favour of Manchester United, however, what it came down to was taking their chances more efficiently. Arsenal dominated possession for large parts of the game, particularly at the start of the second half, but, found it hard to create clear-cut chances as Manchester United’s defence has improved greatly under Ten Hag.
Gabriel Jesus continued his great start to the season with a superb performance in terms of link-up play, dribbling, control and strength, but had few chances in front of goal. The main issues for Arsenal came when Mikel Arteta decided to bring on three attack-minded substitutes and the shape of the Arsenal team was lost. This was shown by Manchester United’s third goal, where the makeshift midfield was all over the place and Bruno Fernandes saw the open space Eriksen was running into and found him perfectly.
It is questionable whether this style of counterattacking play will consistently get results for Manchester United. However, as Ten Hag slowly starts to implement his style of football and ideas into these players it is a positive time to be a Manchester United fan.
So, Manchester United and Arsenal can take many positives from this game, and both have a strong position in the league table as things stand. Arsenal will be looking to bounce back against Everton at home and Manchester United have to travel to Crystal Palace which will be another tough game to try and continue their current four-game win streak.