In Michael Carrick’s last game as caretaker manager he has steered Manchester United to a 3-2 victory over Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal under the Old Trafford lights, with Bruno Fernandes netting once and two goals for Cristiano Ronaldo to go past the 800 career goal milestone.
Harry Maguire: “Big result, we knew how important the game was, started the game a little edgy and nervous first 15 minutes, they scored a goal which they shouldn’t score but a great reaction and dominated the game from there.”
Diogo Dalot: “After a few knockdowns we’ve had this season we need these kind of games, especially at home, we needed to deliver for the fans tonight.”
Manchester United Starting XI: David De Gea, Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles, Fred, Scott McTominay, Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Arsenal Starting XI: Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel, Nuno Tavares, Mohamed Elneny, Thomas Partey, Emile Smith-Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Arsenal took the lead early in the game with a bizarre goal, a corner was put into the box but cleared by Man Utd, but in the goal mouth Fred stepped on De Gea and the keeper stayed down, the referee didn’t whistle to stop play, instead Smith-Rowe hit a shot from the edge on the box and with De Gea down injured it hit the back of the net.
After consulting VAR for a long period of time, the goal was given despite United players and staff voicing their displeasure to the officials.
The first half was relatively poor from both sides, with both teams pressing high up the pitch in patches, the passing from both teams to play through the press was quite poor making chances for both sides hard to come by.
United got their goal just before half time through Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho had the ball on the left hand side, an incisive pass through a few Arsenal players into the box to Fred who cut the ball back for Bruno Fernandes and he poked the ball into the net to level the score.
The second half didn’t wait to produce goals, in the 52nd minute United took the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo, a good left footed pass by Dalot from midfield found Rashford free on the right wing, he drove into the box and found Ronaldo free in the box and his finish into the bottom corner put him on 800 career goals scored.
It was a quick reply by Arsenal to get back level and it was eerily similar to United’s goal, Partey found a pass to Martinelli who was free on the right wing, he hit a first time cross into the box and with his right foot, Odegaard swept the ball into the bottom corner to get his team back level.
United took the lead again in the game in the 70th minute through a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty, Jadon Sancho played another great pass into Fred in the box and he was taken out by Odegaard but the referee didn’t give it immediately, but after viewing VAR he gave the penalty and Ronaldo smashed it right down the middle for career goal number 801.
Bruno Fernandes on Cristiano Ronaldo taking the penalty: “I missed the last one so I trust him in the same way I trust myself. It was time for Cristiano to take the penalty because I took the last one and missed it. It doesn’t matter who gets on the penalty.”
Bruno Fernandes: “he is proving game by game, year by year, season by season that he wants to keep being the best and that’s what he did.”
For the last 20 minutes of the game United sat back and allowed Arsenal a lot of possession to try and break United down, their were a couple of time United were caught out at the back post but Buyako Saka, who the chances fell to, never took his chances.
The game ended 3-2 to United in a game in which neither team played to their best ability but the quality of United got them the victory, with Jadon Sancho, Fred and Cristiano Ronaldo being the standout players for United.
There isn’t much rest for United before the next game, they play Crystal Palace on Sunday under new management in Ralf Rangnick in his first game of his six month interim managerial spell.