Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus scored deep into second-half stoppage time as Manchester United were painfully beaten 3-1 by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The result leaves Erik ten Hag’s side 11th in the Premier League table with two defeats from their first four games, and as the dust settles on a white-knuckle contest, Express Sport takes you through four Red Devils talking points…
Ten Hag to defy club chiefs
No more meddling with Marcus Rashford. It’s hardly groundbreaking to suggest that the 25-year-old is far better playing off the left than he is up front, but he proved it again in north London and came up with a well-taken goal by cutting in from the flank, even if it proved to be in vain.
Reports last month indicated that Man Utd chiefs are excited to bring Rasmus Hojlund into the fold, but they are keen for Rashford to be deployed centrally for the odd game later this season. Based on how the campaign has gone so far and his emphatic strike on Sunday, Ten Hag may be wise to go against such plans and keep Rashford in his best position on a permanent basis.
Maguire finds out where he stands
Former United captain Harry Maguire made a bold call by staying at the club this summer. The 30-year-old had opportunities to play elsewhere but chose to give it another crack at Old Trafford, despite having slipped down the pecking order and been stripped of the armband.
At the Emirates, Maguire found out exactly how far down the pecking order he sits. Victor Lindelof and Lisandro Martinez started at centre-back, and with Raphael Varane out injured, Maguire came off the bench in the second-half to suggest he is Ten Hag’s fourth choice.
There had been fears that even veteran Jonny Evans would be ahead of Maguire, but the Northern Irishman was only introduced in the dying embers of the contest.
Martial approaching last chance saloon
Anthony Martial will have felt Hojlund breathing down his neck after being picked to start ahead of the Dane, who has now recovered from a back injury. But the Frenchman hardly put in a performance that screamed ‘pick me’ to Ten Hag, who could implement a change up top from here on out.
Martial was largely a passenger against the Gunners, with most of United’s limited threat coming from out wide. He was hauled off and replaced by Hojlund with half an hour to play, and he may find opportunities trickier to come by after another underwhelming display.
Antony gets an earful
Ten Hag pulled no punches in giving Antony a dressing down early in the second half. The Brazilian lacked in end product at the Emirates, and just a minute or so after his telling off, he lost possession again.
Although United battled with Arsenal for much of the game in north London, Ten Hag went 90 minutes without seeing things click in an attacking sense, which was undoubtedly a source of frustration for the Dutchman.
All was nearly forgotten as the 90th minute approached, with Alejandro Garnacho sent racing through on goal to slot home. But United’s celebrations were cut short as the Argentine was eventually ruled offside, and the two last-gasp Arsenal goals followed.