Goals from Martin Odegaard, Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus, after Marcus Rashford had opened the scoring, were decisive for the Gunners as they maintained their unbeaten start and consigned United to their second reverse in north London alone this season. But the score sheet told only half the story.
United improved on their performance levels from the previous three games, while Rasmus Hojlund impressed on his belated debut for the club. He was lively in a 23-minute cameo at the death.
Had fortune been on their side, United might well have grabbed three points. Before the winning strike from Rice and breakaway Jesus goal, Alejandro Garnacho had the ball in the Arsenal net – only to see that finish ruled out by VAR and an offside flag by the barest, barest margin.
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Here are three winners and losers from the Arsenal game.
Harry Maguire: Hear me out on this one. It looked for all the world that England regular Maguire would leave Old Trafford this summer. However, the 30-year-old rejected a proposed 30million transfer to West Ham and he might now need to be thrust into regular first-team action. Injuries to first-choice partners – Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez – mean Maguire could get an opportunity he has been craving. One final chance to save his United career?
Marcus Rashford: Up and running for the season. Rashford is much, much more comfortable on the left-hand side and his goal was trademark on the transition. Hojlund is now fit to ease the burden for goal-getting.
Rasmus Hojlund: An underwhelming start to the campaign from a collective stand-point ramped up the pressure on Hojlund before his belated debut. It looks as though the 20-year-old is ready to shoulder that workload, though, and he was one plus-point from the Arsenal game. Gary Neville and Roy Keane certainly took notice.
Jadon Sancho: Did anyone see that coming? Ten Hag dropped Sancho from the matchday squad for his form (or lack of) during training sessions and the ousted England forward hit back to deny those claims. Ten Hag is thought to stand by his initial comments and the whole thing is at risk of becoming a bit of a mess. Either way, it could be a tall order for Sancho to get back into the good books.
Antony: It just hasn&apost worked out for the talented Brazilian quite yet. Despite showing one or two glimpses of his undoubted ability, the former Ajax forward is not offering United enough on or off the ball and it might be only be a matter of time before Argentina sensation Garnacho wrestles away his starting berth.