Arsenal fell to defeat against Manchester United on Thursday as a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo secured the Red Devils a 3-2 victory in the Premier League.
Bouncing back from the Liverpool defeat to beat Newcastle 2-0 on home soil, Mikel Arteta had some interesting selections to make in his team, primarily at left-back.
The decision to play Nuno Tavares in that game proved to be one with an eye on the present as the Portuguese was handed another start ahead of the fit and returning Kieran Tierney.
In midfield he went with a surprising change as the partnership of Sambi Lokonga and Thomas Partey was broken up with Mohamed Elneny replacing he Belgian. Meanwhile, Martin Odegaard also kept his place at No. 10 and Bukayo Saka was not passed fit for the game meaning Gabriel Martinelli took his place on the right.
Arsenal player ratings vs Manchester United as Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice to hand Mikel Arteta’s side 3-2 Premier League defeat
Arsenal took the lead in what can only be described as historic fashion. The corner came in and Fred injured David de Gea, forcing him to the floor, and while on his touchline Emile Smith Rowe volleyed into the vacated net. Correctly, after an age, Martin Atkinson awarded the goal.
The visitors did their usual and began sitting off United, who for the most part were reduced to shots from distance. However, late on in the half Elneny failed to track the run of Fred in the box and he squared for Bruno Fernandes to equalise. A strong penalty shout on Tomiyasu shortly after was waved away.
After the break it took only seven minutes for United to get their noses in front when possession was turned over and Rashford cut a low ball back for Ronaldo to stroke home. Martin Odegaard struck back immediately however, wonderfully tucking home from Martinelli’s superb ball.
A moment of lunacy from Odegaard then gifted United a goal, that Ronaldo made no mistake tucking away.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – 6/10 – His kicking was not at its best today as he opted to go long on a number of occasions right into the heads of United’s defenders. There were some saves that he made look comfortable, but could do nothing for any of the goals.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (RB) – 8/10 – Kept Jadon Sancho quiet throughout and offered real steel and assurance on the right side. Should have had a penalty in the first half but did his job brilliantly overall.
Benjamin White (CB) – 6/10 – Made one outstanding tackle in the box and cleaned up a few situations that looked threatening for the hosts. In possession found a few lovely clever balls, and he came within a whisker of opening the scoring, but was poor for United’s opener.
Gabriel Magalhaes (CB) – 6/10 – Was relatively strong across the ground and the covered his spaces well but had to come across to block the cross from Rashford to set up the second goal.
Nuno Tavares (LB) – 7/10 – Nuno came out to play. He was someone aiming to make things happen without a trigger from elsewhere. Made an effort to push Arsenal up the pitch whenever he received the ball but didn’t find much joy.
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