Rashford brace helps Manchester United revival sweep away Arsenal

Glamour, speed, skill, entertainment: Manchester United and Arsenal produced a mesmerizing watch lit up by an Antony strike on his debut, the Gunners shone and a Marcus Rashford brace shredded the 100% visitor record in the Premier League League.

In the final analysis, however, Mikel Arteta’s side had lost their way by the time Rashford netted their second after taking Christian Eriksen’s excellent pass into a breakaway, killing them in a contest that had a heavyweight feel. rushing with zero. respite. At the final whistle, Arsenal remained leaders of the Championship with 15 points while United moved up to fifth place with 12, the torrid defeats in their first two matches receding and their future, after that fourth successive victory, still appearing more bright.

The opening rallies gave a hint of the show to come, with throw-ins for Antony, trickery from Diogo Dalot down the left and an Arsenal counter in which Gabriel Jesus fouled Lisandro Martínez. Martin Ødegaard fired the resulting free kick and Bruno Fernandes cleared a header.

When Scott McTominay stole the ball from Jesus, the latter was left on the ground. Paul Tierney stopped the contest due to concerns over a potential head injury and when the referee restarted United made serious threats. Antony was in a dead end but a clever hitch kick allowed him to push to Dalot whose cross hit Eriksen’s boot, but he missed.

A dizzying next phase sent Arsenal marauding up the field and from a free kick the ball fell on William Saliba, who exploded. When they attacked again, it would cause the final VAR controversy of the day. Eriksen was stripped by Ødegaard in midfield and Bukayo Saka launched a defensive pass to Gabriel Martinelli. His finish, as David de Gea rushed in, was cool, but when Tierney headed for the pitchside monitor, there would be only one result. Ødegaard was found guilty of fouling Eriksen – it seemed marginal – and the strike was called off.

Manchester United's Antony, right, scores the opening goal in the win over Arsenal.
Manchester United’s Antony, right, scores the opening goal in the win over Arsenal. Photograph: Dave Thompson/AP

It was disappointing for the visitors, but the move was as powerful a warning as the way Saka moments later skated past Tyrell Malacia as if the left-back was chained. Arteta’s accusations were as proactive as United were rebellious, as exemplified by a jink from Antony and quick feet from Jadon Sancho when receiving Martínez. Martinelli was emerging as the preeminent performer. He was a constant threat on the left, often in tandem with Ødegaard. When the latter floated the ball over the Brazilian’s head, only a panther-like leap from De Gea kept United level.

What happened next was a dream for Antoine. The new man had offered a few mannequins along the right which drew derision. But when United attacked again, Fernandes fed Sancho and he found Rashford. The No.10 passed Antony and, on his favorite left, he beat Aaron Ramsdale to spark pandemonium in the stadium.

After beating the club badge copiously, his celebration ended with a comical mime of hands like cat claws in front of the camera. Later he said, “I’ll never forget that day – let’s go for more, this is just the beginning.” Nice to finally meet you at Old Trafford.

The second half of this full-skin clash started with non-stop attacking play. Again, that came mainly from Arsenal, whose control of tempo and territory oozed class. What they needed was an equalizer. It seemed possible in most moments, as did a United breakaway for a second – the latter tactic being their dominant ploy.

Ødegaard fended off a mere chance, cutting wide from close range, then Saka’s twist allowed a fire on goal, but that was also off target. Arteta, whose XI was full-strength minus Thomas Partey, was a one-man semaphore act. Ten Hag gave an indicator of his own thinking when he replaced Antony with Cristiano Ronaldo in the 57th minute: the diametric opposite of a strategy of protecting what we have.

Raphael Varane, who was tasked with doing just that as United’s main defender, failed to do so when Arsenal netted a deserved equaliser. The No.19 went straight to Ødegaard, whose delivery for Jesus fizzled Dalot, leaving Saka to come home from 12 yards out. What followed was practically United’s first attacking push of the half. Eriksen flew over a pass that went past Arsenal’s back four and to Rashford, but he faltered.

But Rashford got it right soon after, when Eriksen tapped in on Fernandes who released the striker to smash the ball past Ramsdale. Rashford’s smile shone with joy. Ten Hag immediately withdrew Sancho for Fred to stabilize his side before Rashford made it 3-1.

He felt United, for the first time in a long time, were getting into a serious game against a serious opponent, which they did for the remaining minutes until Tierney blew full time to signal the fans’ jubilation local.

As Rashford said: “It’s always a big game again. It was a big test for us today. They’re a good team, they know their principles of play and they’re very good at it. We showed up and took on the challenge. We can be proud of ourselves. It’s good to get into a rhythm.

Rashford brace helps Manchester United revival sweep away Arsenal

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