Despite a competitive display, a struggle to contain the league leaders away from home saw Manchester United suffer a 3-2 loss at the hands of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Although having been optimistic in their approach – hurting the opposition on a handful of occasions throughout the ninety minutes – a lack of squad depth alongside the struggle to retain control of possession saw the Red Devils witness their first defeat in ten games across all competitions at the weekend.
Having employed a proactive approach from the first whistle, United ensured they remained resilient in their approach throughout the first half. With both sides having had their fair share of goal-scoring opportunities, the visitors struck first through Marcus Rashford, with the forward producing an exceptional finish to beat Aaron Ramsdale at the far post through a searing strike from outside the 18-yard box.
🎥Highlights: Arsenal 🔴3-2⚪ Manchester United
⚪ Rashford (17)
🔴 Nketiah (24)
🔴 Saka (53)
⚪ L. Martinez (59)
🔴 Nketiah (90)#ARSMUNpic.twitter.com/774HYiI30u
— AIS Bandung (@AIS_BDG) January 23, 2023
The hosts, however, were quick to respond, with striker Eddie Nketiah connecting his head to a cross at the far post as Arsenal found an equaliser just seven minutes after conceding the first goal going into half-time. A dominant approach by the hosts throughout the second half saw them exploit the opposition’s tiredness and sloppiness in retaining possession in key areas of the pitch.
A sublime goal by Bukayo Saka in the 53rd minute saw the Emirates roar in celebration with the Gunners taking the lead following the winger’s exceptional finish from outside the 18-yard box. United, however, remained robust in their approach, with Lisandro Martinez finding the equaliser just six minutes later, levelling the score at the Emirates.
Following a tense final quarter of the game, Manchester United struggled to cope with the home side’s sustained pressure, with Arsenal eventually succeeding in finding the winner in the 90th minute through Nketiah’s timely finish at the far post.
Manchester United Player Ratings Vs Arsenal: Starting XI
David De Gea (GK) – 5/10: Erratic in possession and struggling to make the right decisions on the pitch, De Gea emerged as a liability in United’s defensive line on Sunday. Although expected to retain his place in the starting line-up moving forward, the Spaniard will be keen on redeeming himself moving forward.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – 5/10: Guilty of producing a handful of unforced errors, Wan-Bissaka failed to replicate his recent performances against Arsenal. With Diogo Dalot’s availability uncertain, the right-back will be keen on improving his overall contributions over the coming fixtures.
Raphael Varane (RCB) – 6/10: Decent in possession, Varane remained an imposing character at the back on Sunday. Expected to play a significant role moving forward, the Frenchman will be keen on remaining consistent on the pitch.
Lisandro Martinez (LCB) – 6/10: Having netted his first goal for Manchester United, Martinez delivered a notable display against Arsenal. Expected to remain a core part of the starting line-up moving forward, the centre-back will be keen on performing to the best of his abilities over the coming fixtures.
Luke Shaw (LB) – 6/10: Although having struggled to contain Saka, Shaw delivered a decent performance on Sunday. Expected to remain a regular starter, the left-back will be keen on delivering consistent displays moving forward.
Scott McTominay (CDM) – 4/10: Having failed to deliver an imposing performance in midfield, McTominay remained a liability for United on Sunday. Expected to be replaced by Casemiro in the next league fixture, the Scotsman will be keen on improving his contributions over the coming weeks.
Christian Eriksen (CM) – 5/10: Having struggled to cope with Arsenal’s dynamic midfield trio, Eriksen failed to perform to the best of his abilities at the Emirates. With a lack of rotational options in his position, the Danish midfielder is expected to retain his place in the starting line-up moving forward.
Antony (RW) – 5/10: Whilst decent out of possession, Antony failed to test Arsenal’s full-backs on Sunday. With the team reliant on his impact, the Brazilian will be keen on making the best of his opportunities moving forward.
Bruno Fernandes (CAM) – 5/10: Amongst the players failing to make the best use of possession, Fernandes’ impact gradually reduced throughout the ninety minutes. However, having been amongst the team’s most improved players in recent weeks, the Portuguese midfielder will be keen on performing to the best of his abilities moving forward.
Marcus Rashford (LW) – 6/10: Excellent in possession, Rashford emerged as the bright spark amongst United’s attackers on Sunday. With the team heavily reliant on his impact, the winger will be keen on maintaining his excellent run of form over the coming fixtures.
Wout Weghorst (ST) – 6/10: Having played a vital role in United’s transitions into the attacking third, Weghorst delivered yet another promising display against Arsenal. Although having been starved of service, the forward will be keen on building on his recent displays moving forward.
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Manchester United Player Ratings Vs Arsenal: Substitutes
Fred (CM) – 6/10: Introduced to add energy in midfield, Fred struggled to make an impact during his cameo. Expected to make the starting line-up over the upcoming cup fixtures, the midfielder will be keen on making the best of his opportunities over the coming weeks.
Alejandro Garnacho (LW) – 6/10: Introduced in the dying minutes of the game, Garnacho struggled to have a significant impact on proceedings. With the winger expected to be included in the starting line-up over the upcoming cup ties, the youngster will be keen on improving the team’s prospects moving forward.
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