Arsenal vs. Manchester United is always a match that keeps you on the edge of your seat. While this match did not boil over like the days of Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane, the tension also lasted until the closing minutes. From Alejandro Garnacho’s disallowed goal to Declan Rice’s winner to Gabriel Jesus’s sealer, the match was dreamland for some while a nightmare for others. However, not every fan was fortunate enough to witness the scenes unfold. For example, although we know that football matches usually extend after 90 minutes, it did not stop some fans, Arsenal fans, from leaving the ground early and missing the dramatic late drama.
These Arsenal fans left the Emirates before the end of the match and missed Rice’s winner 😭 pic.twitter.com/h72VHa80r5
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 3, 2023
Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus Steal the Win for Arsenal
As a neutral fan watching the Arsenal vs. Manchester United game, it is not an overstatement to say that Arsenal deserves to win solely based on performance. However, United had the better chances throughout the game, and if not for VAR intervention, they could be smiling back to Old Trafford. Unfortunately, the joy lasted only a minute as the officials ruled out Garnacho’s goal, and United were left wondering what it could have been.
On the other hand, Arsenal, prompted by the let-off, immediately swarmed United’s goal in search of a winner. Fortunately for them, their frantic attack paid off as Bukayo Saka’s inswinging corner found Declan Rice at the far post, and the new signing swiftly chested the ball down and dispatched it into the goal via a deflection past Onana. While the Arsenal players and fans celebrate in fervour, the United players immediately protest the legibility due to the obstruction from Gabriel.
However, the protest was all for naught as the Arsenal vs. Manchester United game continued with them trailing 2-1. As they were out of options but to pile men forward, Arsenal capitalised on the space as Fábio Vieira played a delightful ball to Gabriel Jesus before the forward showcased his prowess by sitting down Dalot and slotting it past Onana. With that, the Arsenal vs. Manchester United game ended with a 3-1 score line to the host.
Kai Havertz Disappoints Once Again in Arsenal vs. Manchester United
While recruitment has always been a strong suit for Arsenal recently, Kai Havertz is definitely not one the fans want to deem a success. Despite the criticism from fans and expert pundits alike, Arteta stuck with the German to start in this Arsenal vs. Manchester United match. However, the results were nothing short of disappointing.
For example, the German missed a golden opportunity in the 14th minute when he had a free shot at goal from 8 yards out but completely missed contact with the ball. 13 minutes later, the German misplaced his sloppy pass to Christian Eriksen as the Dane immediately set Rashford on his bike for the first goal of the match.
The second half of the Arsenal vs. Manchester United match was equally not kind to Havertz as VAR disallowed his penalty shout due to insufficient contact. However, credit must be given to Havertz as the way he fell was a masterclass in winning penalties. If not for pesky VAR, Havertz will be on the receiving end of heroics applause during his withdrawal in the 77th minute. To make matters worse, his substitute, Fábio Vieira, contributed more than him in his short spell on the pitch.
Havertz missed the ball by this much. 😭 pic.twitter.com/nxoRLOndcg
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) September 3, 2023
Erik ten Hag’s Official Statement: “The Performance Is Right, but Everything Went Against Us.”
Another person who was left disappointed after the Arsenal vs. Manchester United match was Erik ten Hag. For example, his tone in his press conference fully conveys his fury and disappointment. Firstly, he stated: “The performance is right. We played a good game, but everything went against us. And then you don’t win the game.”
Secondly, to emphasise his point, ten Hag pointed out three situations where he felt the decisions went against his team. “You saw the game, it’s not offside, that is the wrong angle, then a penalty on Højlund, we concede a goal, and that is a foul on Jonny Evans.”
However, despite his rant about the decisions, he did stop and save praise for his team’s effort in this Arsenal vs. Manchester United game last. He stated: “I think this is a real step forward, and I am happy with the performance. We are now compact, very good defending in high and lower blocks, and we break like the first goal. Although we are calm on the ball, I see definite room for improvement and how we go forward and miss some passes forward that we could have hurt them more.”
Tactical Masterclass or Tactical Disasterclass by Erik ten Hag?
After the climax of this intriguing Arsenal vs. Manchester United match and watching his press conference, many would turn to critique the Dutch manager for his tactic, but was it a masterclass or disasterclass? After looking back on the game as a whole, the game plan of United setting up to absorb pressure and attack on the counter was genius on behalf of ten Hag.
However, his stroke of masterclass capitulated the moment when his defensive substitutes, Jonny Evans and Harry Maguire, failed to pick up the unmarked Declan Rice at the far post. To rub salt in the wound further, Jonny Evans played Gabriel Jesus onside en route to conceding their third and final goal in this Arsenal vs. Manchester United match.
Thus, the question begs to differ. Was it a tactical masterclass or a tactical disasterclass by Erik ten Hag? While we feel it is harsh to criticise his tactic in this Arsenal vs. Manchester United match, we would love to hear what you think in the comments below.
Plenty of United players complaining but there was nothing to complain about. Evans was all over the place for that. Ending a game with him and Maguire as the back two at Arsenal is not a good look. #mufc
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) September 3, 2023