Man Utd 3-2 Arsenal : Player ratings, man of the match, heroes & villains as Rangnick watches from the stands

Manchester United came out on the right side of an entertaining five-goal cracker at Old Trafford.
Cristiano Ronaldo scores for Manchester United. Credit: GettyCristiano Ronaldo scores for Manchester United. Credit: Getty
Cristiano Ronaldo scores for Manchester United. Credit: Getty

Michael Carrick bowed out as Manchester United’s ‘interim interim’ manager with a 3-2 win over Arsenal in the Premier League.

With Ralf Rangnick watching from the directors’ box on Thursday night, the Red Devils grabbed a decisive three points to move them up to seventh in the table after an entertaining affair at Old Trafford.

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Emile Smith Rowe put the Gunners ahead in bizarre circumstances when he netted while David De Gea was lying injured on the goal-line in the first half. It was Fred who trod on his goalkeeper’s toes and, as a result, the goal was given after a lengthy VAR stop deemed there to be no foul.

Ralf Rangnick was in attendance on Thursday night. Credit: Getty.Ralf Rangnick was in attendance on Thursday night. Credit: Getty.
Ralf Rangnick was in attendance on Thursday night. Credit: Getty.

But that lead was wiped out before the break as Bruno Fernandes netted from a well-placed finish after Fred cut the ball back to the No.18 in the box.

His international team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo then gave United the lead on 52 minutes when he slotted Marcus Rashford’s cross beyond Aaron Ramsdale. But United were only ahead for two minutes, as Martin Odegaard netted inside the United box with a well-taken shot that just nicked off Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang en route to goal.

Yet after bringing the Gunners back to level terms, the Norwegian soon handed United the lead again when he hacked down Fred inside the box. After a second VAR check of night, the penalty was awarded and Ronaldo tucked it home.

Ronaldo was the star of the show at Old Trafford. Credit: Getty.Ronaldo was the star of the show at Old Trafford. Credit: Getty.
Ronaldo was the star of the show at Old Trafford. Credit: Getty.

The heroes

  • Bruno Fernandes: The Portuguese midfielder made his 100th United appearance on Thursday and marked it by grabbing a vital goal on the stroke of half-time.
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: This is the first home game for United since the Norwegian’s dismissal as manager and a banner was unveiled in the Stretford End just before kick-off dedicated to the much-loved former striker. His name was also sung by the home supporters pre-match, while Michael Carrick acknowledged Solskjaer’s contribution in his programme notes.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo: The Portuguese superstar made it 2-1 to United not long after half-time and, in doing so, scored his 800th career goal. It also didn’t take him long to get to 801, when he smashed home from the spot in the 70th minute.
  • Amazon Prime: The broadcasters will be thrilled at showing such a thrilling game and their pundits weren’t shabby either with Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer at the sidelines. Between them, the pair have scored 435 Premier League goals.

The villains

  • VAR: The video technology was certainly the pantomime villain at Old Trafford after that Smith Rowe opener. It was the correct decision to award the goal after Fred trod on De Gea’s foot, but it also seemed harsh that Arsenal took the lead when the keeper was sprawled on the deck. It also took an age to award the goal after a lengthy VAR check, which only heightened United’s ire.
  • Martin Odegaard: The former Real Madrid man’s crazy tackle on Fred gave United a penalty at a crucial time in the game. The lunge on the Brazilian was nowhere near the ball and should have been an easy decision for Martin Atkinson, although it did take a VAR check to award the spot-kick.
Fred won a second-half penalty for United at Old Trafford. Credit: Getty.Fred won a second-half penalty for United at Old Trafford. Credit: Getty.
Fred won a second-half penalty for United at Old Trafford. Credit: Getty.

Player ratings

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Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea 7; Dalot 7, Maguire 6, Lindelof 7, Telles 6; McTominay 7, Fred 5; Rashford 5 (Lingard 79), Fernandes 7 (Van de Beek 90), Sancho 7; Ronaldo 8 (Martial 88).

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale 7; Tomiyasu 6, White 7, Gabriel 7, Tavares 5; Elneny 7, Partey 6; Martinelli 6, Odegaard 5 (Lacazette 79), Smith-Rowe 5 (Saka 71; 5); Aubameyang 5 (Nketiah 79).

What’s next?

After 26 days without a home game, the Red Devils are now back at Old Trafford in just three days’ time when they play Crystal Palace. Rangnick will, of course, be in charge for the first time at the weekend as a new era at Old Trafford begins.

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