Arsenal outgun United in chaotic clash

Gunners have 100 per cent record against so called top six - in last two games

Saturday, 23rd April — By Tom Foot at the Emirates

arsenal emriates

FA Premierleague 

ARSENAL (Tavares 3, Saka 32, Xhaka 70)

MAN U (Ronaldo 34)

LAST time Cristiano Ronaldo played for United at the Emirates was the ill-fated Champions League semi final of 2009.

Neither of these sides are going to reach those heady heights any time soon if they keep defending the way they did today.

That said the weekend Prem opener was a hugely entertaining affair with lots to cheer, shout and laugh about.

Granit Xhaka scored a rocket from outside the box, Bruno Fernandes missed a penalty after his silly run up and VAR ruled out a Ronaldo goal in a super tight offside.

It was a big win especially following the heroics against Chelsea midweek – another so called top six club beaten by Arsenal.

The home side roared out of the blocks and took a commanding two goal lead only to be pegged back just before half time.

Both sides looked incapable of keeping it tight and were at times shambolic at the back.

The plan seemed to be go all guns blazing and hope for some mistakes. And mistakes rained down from both sides.

Tavares scored on three minutes, steering in after David De Gea had done well to save Bukayo Saka’s curling shot.

But it was downhill from there for the Arsenal left back who made so many blunders it would take up too much time to report them all.

Needless to say his clumsy style makes Xhaka look like Arsenal’s new Mesut Ozil.

Saka scored from the penalty spot after VAR decided he had been fouled before passing to Eddie Nketiah, whose goal had been ruled out for offside.

It was super soft but the home fans didn’t care.

Minutes later Gabriel seemed to forgot to try and head away a cross – leaving Ronaldo space to poach a goal.

He was also guilty of some over hesitant defending.

In the second half, the increasingly erratic Tavares jumped into a crowd in the box with his arm up and the ref blew up for a pen.

Fernandes hit the base of the post to roars of delight.

You can almost feel the weight of Ronaldo on the United captain’s shoulder. He cuts a tragic figure these days.

Arsenal’s attacking play was patient but effective. By half time they had amassed 11 shots with six on target.

There will be few games against so called top six sides, since the Wenger decline era, that the Gunners have notched that many meaningful attempts.

Jadon Sancho was a menace for United throughout the match and caused havoc down Cedric Soares’s flank.

Diogo Dalot hit the cross bar in the first half and Fernandes saw his shot well saved onto the post by Aaron Ramsdale

There was standing applause from the whole stadium in support of Ronaldo on 7 minutes following the announcement of the death of his baby.

He isn’t the menace he used to be.

But his runs, focus and precision play are still box office.

At the other end, Nketiah had a golden chance to put the Gunners two up -but went for power over accuracy.

Alexandre Lacazette did not come off the bench to replace him. The striker position is becoming increasingly redundant in the Arteta system.

It doesn’t seem to matter who we have there – few find the space to score.

A little fortunate, but a massive three points that puts the pressure on Spurs.

Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Gabriel,  Soares (Tomiyasu 85), Xhaka, Odegaard Elneny, Rowe (Martinelli 65), Saka (Holding 72), Tavares, Nketiah

Subs not used: Leno, Lacazette, Pepe, Lokonga, Azeez, Swawnson

Man U: De Gea, Lindelof, Varane, Telles, Dalot, McTominay, Fernandes, Ronaldo, Sancho, Matic Elanga.

Subs not used: Henderson, Bailly, Jones, Maguire, Mata, Rashford, Lingard, Bissaka, Garnacho.

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