Gunners Gunned Down! Manchester United End Arsenal’s Streak With 3-1 Win
Manchester United’s good run of form continued with an action-packed 3-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday as the Gunners suffered their first defeat of the season, as reported by ESPN.
A debut goal from Antony — in his debut appearance for Man United after his transfer from Ajax days earlier — punctuated a confident win for the Red Devils, now their fourth in a row.
Not to be outdone, Marcus Rashford scored twice, canceling out a goal from Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka. (A would-be goal from Gabriel Martinelli inside 14 minutes of the match was waived off for a foul in the lead-up.)
ESPN’s Rob Dawson has reaction and analysis.
1. Man United End Arsenal’s Winning Run and Extend Their Own
In the aftermath of the 4-0 defeat to Brentford, it was hard to imagine Manchester United would win their next four games — including victories over Liverpool and Arsenal — but that’s how far they have come under Erik ten Hag. The Dutchman’s decision to start new boy Antony paid off with a debut goal while he was also rewarded for keeping faith with Marcus Rashford, who scored twice in the second half.
In truth, there wasn’t much between the two teams but Man United were better in the crucial moments and Mikel Arteta will be left to pick up his Arsenal players after a first defeat of the season. It seems incredible that after opening defeats to Brighton and Brentford, Man United could start September by moving to within two points of Manchester City. But Ten Hag has been boosted by a strong end to the transfer window and his team have built some momentum before the international break at the end of the month.
It has already been an unpredictable season but if they string a few more wins together they will start to be talked about as possible title contenders. It happened to Arsenal after winning five in a row and United have now won four successive league game for the first time since April 2021.
2. Antony Makes Instant Impact
Not everyone can deal with the pressure of being a big-money signing at Manchester United but Antony already looks the part.
The winger, signed for €100m from Ajax on deadline day, needed only 35 minutes to announce himself to Old Trafford with a crisp finish whipped into the corner to put United 1-0 up.
It came just moments after the Arsenal fans in the corner of the stadium had jeered the Brazilian after one flashy trick came to nothing, and Antony was quick to get his revenge by celebrating in front of the away supporters with the ball up his shirt and his thumb in his mouth. It prompted a warning from referee Paul Tierney, but if nothing else showed that the 22-year-old is not the type to shrink under the spotlight of an intense atmosphere.
He has been brought to United, as much for his character as his ability on the pitch. There will be a lot expected of Antony, who showed his confidence with an attempt to chip Aaron Ramsdale from 35 yards, after becoming the club’s second most expensive signing ever and he is wasted no time in showing that he is worth the money.
It already looks like he’ll bring excitement and a bit of bite to Ten Hag’s team.
3. Frustration for Arsenal But Still Moving in the Right Direction
Arsenal haven’t won their first six games of a top-flight season since 1947, so it’s not the end of the world that their winning run came to an end at Old Trafford and Arteta can take plenty of positives.
Aside from his gripe with some of the refereeing decisions — including the decision to chalk off Gabriel Martinelli’s early goal after a VAR check — his team were in control for large chunks of the game and it was only because Man United were more clinical in front of goal that Arsenal lost for the first time this season.
It will be a concern for Arteta that Arsenal’s first real test this season has ended in defeat but he will also know that on a different day, his players could have earned at least a point. This Arsenal team is still a work in progress but has been thrust into the title debate because of their impressive start.
Ultimately, their goal this season is to qualify for the Champions League after narrowly missing out at the end of last season and even after a set-back at Old Trafford, they still look more than capable. Arsenal came off second best in the big moments but Arteta won’t be too disheartened.