Man United win again and end Arsenal’s streak, illustrating Erik ten Hag’s continued impact

Manchester United’s fine form continued with an action-packed 3-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday as the Gunners suffered their first defeat of the season.

A debut goal from Antony – in his first appearance for Man United after joining from Ajax days earlier – underscored a confident victory for the Red Devils, now their fourth in a row.

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Not to be outdone, Marcus Rashford scored twice and equalized a goal from Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka. (A possible goal by Gabriel Martinelli within 14 minutes of the game was ruled out for a foul in advance.)

ESPN’s Rob Dawson has the reaction and analysis.

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Fast reaction

1. Man United ends Arsenal’s winning streak and builds on their own

After losing 4-0 to Brentford it was hard to imagine Manchester United winning their next four games – including wins over Liverpool and Arsenal – but that’s how far they’ve come under Erik ten Hag. The Dutchman’s decision to set up new boy Antony paid off with a debut goal, while he was also rewarded for being loyal to Marcus Rashford, who scored twice in the second half.

In truth there wasn’t much between the two sides but Man United were better in the crucial moments and Mikel Arteta will have to pick up his Arsenal players after a first loss of the season. It seems incredible that after opening defeats to Brighton and Brentford, Man United could start September by moving within two points of Manchester City. But Ten Hag has been bolstered by a strong end to the transfer window and his side built some momentum ahead of the international break at the end of the month.

It’s already been an unpredictable season, but if they still string together a few more wins, they’ll be talked about as possible title contenders. It has happened to Arsenal after winning five in a row and United have now won four straight league games for the first time since April 2021.

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2. Antony makes an instant impression

Not everyone can handle the pressure of signing big-money at Manchester United, but Antony already looks the part.

The winger, signed from Ajax for €100m on deadline day, took just 35 minutes to make Old Trafford’s lead 1-0 with a crisp finish in the corner.

It came just moments after Arsenal fans in the corner of the stadium mocked the Brazilian after a flashy trick went in vain and Antony was quick to get his revenge by celebrating in front of the visiting fans with the ball in his shirt and thumbs in mouth. It prompted a warning from referee Paul Tierney but last but not least showed the 22-year-old is not the type to shrink in the spotlight of an intense atmosphere.

He was brought to United for both his character and his ability on the pitch. Much is expected of Antony, who showed his confidence with a bid to beat Aaron Ramsdale from 35 yards after becoming the club’s second most expensive signing and is wasting no time in showing he’s worth the money.

It’s already looking like he’ll bring some excitement and bite to Ten Hag’s team.

3. Frustration for Arsenal but still going in the right direction

Arsenal haven’t won their first six games in a top-flight season since 1947 so it’s not the end of the world that their winning streak at Old Trafford has come to an end and Arteta has plenty of positives to report.

Aside from his complaint about some of the refereeing decisions – including the decision to rule out Gabriel Martinelli’s early goal following a VAR review – his team were in control of large parts of the game and it was only because Man United were more disciplined in front of goal that Arsenal lost for the first time this season.

Arteta will be concerned Arsenal’s first real test of the season ended in defeat, but he will also know that his players could have earned at least a point any other day. This Arsenal team is still a work in progress but has been pushed into the title debate due to their impressive start.

Ultimately, their aim this season is to qualify for the Champions League having narrowly missed out at the end of last season and even after a setback at Old Trafford they still look more than capable. Arsenal finished second best in the big moments but Arteta won’t be too discouraged.


Player Ratings

Man United: De Gea 7, Dalot 6, Malacia 7, Martinez 7, Varane 7, McTominay 7, Eriksen 8, Fernandes 7, Sancho 6, Antony 7, Rashford 7.

Subtitle: Ronaldo 6, Fred 6, Casemiro 6, Maguire 5.

Arsenal: Ramsdale 6, White 6, Zinchenko 6, Saliba 5, Gabriel 5, Lokonga 5, Xhaka 5, Odegaard 5, Saka 7, Martinelli 6, Jesus 6.

Subtitle: Nketiah 6, Smith Rowe 6, Vieira 6, Tomiyasu 6.


Best and worst performers

BEST: Cristian Eriksen, Manchester United

It was two quick passes from the Denmark international that set up Man United’s first two goals and then he got an assist himself, laying down the third for Rashford.

WORST: Gabriel, Arsenal

The Arsenal defender will not want to see Rashford’s two goals again after Man United were twice allowed to punch through the middle with little resistance.


Highlights and notable moments

A goal well struck by Gabriel Martinelli was disallowed by VAR early in the first half. The VAR found that Martin Odegaard fouled Man United’s Christian Eriksen to gain possession for Arsenal and initiate the attack.

That canceled goal proved costly in the 36th minute when Antony scored his debut goal in his first Man United appearance.

(On Thursday, the club announced that Antony had completed a move from Ajax and signed a contract until 2027.)

Bukayo Saka then scored his first goal of the season for Arsenal in what looked like an important equaliser.

But Marcus Rashford soon put Man United back in front.

The Red Devils remained in control and Arsenal couldn’t fight back.


After the game: what the managers, players said

Check back soon for updates…


Key Stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

  • Man United’s four-game winning streak is their longest since March-April 2021, when they won five in a row.

  • Antony scored on his Man United debut, mirroring his debut at former club Ajax in September 2020.

  • According to Opta, Antony became the 100th Brazilian to play in the Premier League and the youngest to score on his debut (22 years and 192 days old).

  • Only Nicolas Anelka (23) scored more Premier League goals for Arsenal before the age of 21 than Bukayo Saka (18).

  • Marcus Rashford has tied David Beckham (62) for 9th for all-time Premier League goals with Man United. Among England players, only Wayne Rooney (183), Paul Scholes (107) and Andrew Cole (93) scored more PL goals for Man United.

  • This was Marcus Rashford’s second Premier League game with at least two goals and an assist. He is the fifth Man United player in the last 15 years to record multiple such league games, alongside Wayne Rooney (7), Bruno Fernandes (2), Cristiano Ronaldo (2) and Ashley Young (2).

  • Cristiano Ronaldo is still looking for his first goal of the season (six games played). This is the fifth-longest goalless early-season drought of his career.


Next

Manchester United: Next up, the Red Devils host Real Sociedad in the Europa League group stage on Thursday 8 September at 15:00 ET. Then, on Sunday 11 September, Man United return to the Premier League when it comes to Crystal Palace.

Arsenal: Next, the Gunners visit FC Zurich in the Europa League group stage on Thursday, September 8 at 12:45 p.m. ET. Then, on Sunday 11 September, Arsenal return to the Premier League when they host Everton.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/blog-the-match/story/4736322/man-united-win-again-and-end-arsenals-streakillustrating-erik-ten-hags-continued-impact Man United win again and end Arsenal’s streak, illustrating Erik ten Hag’s continued impact

Emma Bowman

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