Manchester United lost to Arsenal by virtue of two late goals at the Emirates on Sunday.
Manchester United opened the scoring, much against the run of play, as a weighted pass from Christian Eriksen found Marcus Rashford on the left, who then cut inside and scored his maiden goal of the campaign.
Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard equalized just a couple of minutes later with a wonderful goal from the Norwegian. The Gunners had a penalty revoked by VAR, while United’s Garnacho’s goal was ruled out for offside by VAR.
Declan Rice eventually scored from a corner in the added minutes of the second half to give Arsenal the lead. Gabriel Jesus put the last nail in United’s coffin as he made it 3-1 for the Gunners a few minutes later.
Let’s look at the five talking points of the match against Arsenal:
#1 – Manchester United are inconsistent with their pressing
In the first half, Manchester United’s attackers were lazy when it came to pressing their opponents. Besides Anthony, few of the players closed in on either Aaron Ramsdale or any of Arsenal’s centre-backs. This lethargic attitude enabled Declan Rice to progress through the midfield and lay down passes for the rest of his teammates.
#2 – Lisandro Martinez is gradually picking up his form
The Argentine has had a tough start to the 2023–24 Premier League season. In his first game against Wolves, he received an early yellow card and was eventually substituted at half-time. Against Tottenham Hotspur, Lisandro Martinez even scored an unlucky own goal as he fell prey to criticism and trolling. However, the World Cup winner is slowly showing his doubters what he is capable of.
#3 – Manchester United are getting exposed during the opposition’s counter-attack
Mikel Arteta’s team posed a lot of threats during counterattacks but eventually failed to capitalize on them. Casemiro has failed to provide stability in United’s midfield so far in the league. The Brazilian was once again not at his best, as he couldn’t cover for United’s defence so well.
Arsenal took advantage of this and wreaked havoc on United’s defence during counterattacks. The Gunners made good use of their wingers’ pace, juxtaposed with Odegaard’s sublime passing. A lot of the time, United were caught off guard by Arteta’s men.
#4 – Manchester United have shown confidence in handling pressure in their defensive third
Manchester United’s defence did well in handling Arsenal’s pressure on their defenders and goalkeeper in the match. This was one of the reasons United struggled in the past, but with the signing of Andre Onana, fans assumed that United would improve on this aspect of the game.
In the match against Arsenal, Onana confidently invited pressure on him to clear the space surrounding his centre-halves. Eriksen also slotted deep to help United build from the back and showed confidence in dealing with the situation.
#5 – Rasmus Hojlund had a promising debut
The Dane looked promising on his Manchester United debut. Rasmus Hojlund came on as a second-half substitute for Anthony Martial. Hojlund provided much-needed physicality in United’s attack.
He was also instrumental in giving a smart backheel pass in the build-up to Alejandro Garnacho’s disallowed goal.
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