Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the
2022/23 Premier League season as Manchester United ended the Gunners’ perfect
start to the campaign with an enthralling 3-1 victory at Old Trafford. Bukayo
Saka cancelled out Antony’s opener for Manchester United in the second half,
but two goals from Marcus Rashford on the counter-attack in the final 30
minutes took the Red Devils to their fourth consecutive win of the campaign.
Arsenal entered this fixture on the back of
five wins in their first five games of the season, and Mikel Arteta’s side
looked to have the early advantage when Gabriel Martinelli burst through on
goal and slotted past David de Gea following Bukayo Saka’s sublime through
ball. Unfortunately for the Gunners faithful, the goal was disallowed after a
VAR review for a deemed foul by Martin Odegaard on Christian Eriksen in the
lead-up to that move.
Arsenal dominated the ball for large parts
of the first half, but United drew first blood as they took the lead through
the debutant Antony. The Brazilian international, who joined for £85 million
from Ajax on deadline day, side-footed the ball past Aaron Ramsdale into the
bottom corner to put United in front in the 35th minute.
The Gunners responded in equal measure to
going a goal down, gradually exerting their control on the fixture in the
second period with Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka going close. The deserved
equaliser finally came from the young Englishman, who fired home after pouncing
on Diogo Dalot’s tackle on Gabriel Jesus to score his first goal this campaign.
However, just six minutes after getting on
level terms, the Gunners trailed again after a superb counter-attacking goal
from Manchester United. Bruno Fernandes unleashed Marcus Rashford with a brillaint
pass before the Englishman restored the Red Devils’ lead with a well-placed
finish. With 15 minutes to go, Mikel Arteta threw the kitchen sink with the
introduction of Eddie Nketiah, Fabio Vieira, and Emile Smith Rowe, but the
attacking triple substitution left Arsenal vulnerable defensively, allowing
United to double their lead just a minute later.
Fernandes put Eriksen in, who unselfishly
laid the ball onto the path of Rashford to tap it into an empty net and end
Arsenal’s five-game winning streak in the league.
Despite the defeat at Old Trafford, the
Gunners remained on top of the Premier League table with 15 points from a
possible 18. Manchester United, meanwhile, have firmly shrugged off their
opening two defeats and turned a corner under Erik Ten Hag, winning each of
their last four games to climb to fifth in the standings, three points behind