Arsenal 3-1 Manchester United: Granit Xhaka’s ferocious strike in the 70th-minute sealed all three points for the Gunners, making Cristiano Ronaldo’s milestone 100th Premier League goal for the Red Devils on the day inconsequential.
In-depth match report as Arsenal hope for Uefa Champions League football boosted with a 3-1 win over Manchester United. Goals from Nuno Tavares, Bukayo Saka and Granit Xhaka seal victory for the Gunners.
Xhaka’s ferocious strike sealed Arsenal 3-1 win over Man Utd at the Emirates Stadium, thus taking the Gunners to fourth in the Premier League table.
It took just two minutes and fourteen seconds for Arsenal to get their noses in front. Bukayo Saka made the most of a defensive mishap, forcing David de Gea into a wonderful save, only to then see Portuguese teenager Nuno Tavares pounce on the rebound to net his first goal for the ‘Gunners’.Man Utd agonisingly came close to an equaliser midway through the half when Diogo Dalot struck a thunderous long-range effort right into the woodwork before drama dawned upon the Emirates Stadium.
Teenage striker Eddie Nketiah thought he had doubled his side’s lead with a point-blank shot, only to be flagged offside by VAR. However, the review did point out an earlier foul on Saka in the box, who then stepped up to clinically slot home his penalty in the 32nd minute. Arsenal’s lead was cut short just two minutes later though, when Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo came alive with a calm finish after Nemanja Matić’s terrific cross found him loitering in the box, marking his milestone 100th Premier League goal.
4 – Cristiano Ronaldo is the fourth player to score 100 Premier League goals for Man Utd (also Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney) – the joint-most of any club (Liverpool also four). Elite. #ARSMUN
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 23, 2022
Man Utd wasted an amazing opportunity to level scores ten minutes after the restart, as Tavares gave away a penalty, reacting to which Bruno Fernandes struck the left post from 12-yards. Left standing as a spectator for the penalty, Aaron Ramsdale then pulled out a brace of superb saves – first from Anthony Elanga’s sublime strike directed towards the bottom left corner, before Dalot forced him to parry a shot onto the right post. Much to the dismay of chances missed earlier, Ralf Rangnick’s men were handed their third blow of the afternoon just before the final quarter-hour arrived, thanks to Granit Xhaka unleashing a ferocious strike from a distance that David De Gea could not stop, this left the visitors in disbelief.
Coming into this match on the back of contrasting midweek results at Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, both teams knew very well that only a victory here would hand either one of them a straightforward chance at qualifying for the Uefa Champions League spot. Mikel Arteta’s men are now in the driving seat for the race to grab the fourth spot.
- Arsenal made just one change from their 4-2 win at Chelsea as Cedric Soares replaced Rob Holding, with Mikel Arteta also choosing a back four defensive set-up.
- Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was settled for the bench for the Premier League trip to top-four rivals Arsenal. The England defender received a bomb threat last week and was taken out of the firing line at the Emirates Stadium as one of five changes from the embarrassing 4-0 loss at Anfield on Tuesday night. Fit-again Raphael Varane replaced Maguire while Cristiano Ronaldo returned from compassionate leave to lead the line as interim boss Ralf Rangnick scrapped the three-man defence which suffered at Anfield. Jadon Sancho, Alex Telles and Scott McTominay also came in as Phil Jones, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford were on the bench.
What both managers said:
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta: “A big performance in a game I think had everything. Moments where we showed real quality, a game where we had to suffer, a game where there were moments where we were a bit lost and lacking energy, a game where we were really efficient in the boxes, a game where we had luck when we needed it. Overall I am extremely happy.”
On the race to finish in the Champions League: “I said this is going to be a rollercoaster. The winning and losing in this league are small margins. Today things went our way and we are really happy.”
Man Utd interim manager Ralf Rangnick: “I think we showed an improved performance but in the end a disappointing result. I think we bounced back well from the early goal and had numerous chances in both halves to score more goals.
“I thought the weak part of our performance today as we didn’t defend well inside and around our box. I felt there were three very unlucky VAR decisions. For me, the Arsenal third was clearly offside. The second of Cristiano was not offside. We were not very happy with the VAR decisions today. An improved display but a disappointing result.”
On Fernandes’ missed penalty: “It would have helped us a lot if that had been the equaliser and probably would have changed the whole game. At the end, very unlucky for us.”
When asked if Man Utd’s top-four chances have gone, he added: “Pretty sure. For me, even before the game, it was not very likely but after today’s result it is gone yes.”
Arsenal travel to London rivals West Ham in the Premier League next Sunday, kick-off at 4.30 pm.
Manchester United host Chelsea at Old Trafford on Thursday, kick-off at 7.45 pm.