Sunday’s version of Arsenal vs Manchester United, a heart-stopping 3-2 win by the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium, taught the Premier League a new but familiar lesson.
The rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United is back in full force as fans and neutrals alike will be dreaming of this match becoming what it was earlier in the century.
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Eddie Nketiah completed his brace with a 90th-minute winner, joining Bukayo Saka’s smash goal on the scoresheet and eclipsing Man United goals from Marcus Rashford and Lisandro Martinez.
The Gunners keep rolling as Mikel Arteta’s first-placed youngsters have beaten bitter rivals Tottenham and now age-old enemies Man United in a week’s time, accumulating 50 points to extend their lead to five points over Man City with a match -in-hand.
WATCH ARSENAL v MANCHESTER UNITED FULL MATCH REPEAT
But Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United showed perseverance after being pinned against Crystal Palace midway through the week, battling through fatigue before falling just short. The Red Devils’ 39 points are behind Newcastle United in third place on goal difference.
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The rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United has been properly reborn (or at least revived)
We needed this.
There are certain non-geographic rivalries in the Premier League that just round out the fixture list, and we’ve been waiting a long time for Arsenal and Manchester United to give us a top-four fight with meaning.
Sunday’s encounter joins United’s early-season win to reignite the rivalry and give fans from both sides – as well as neutrals – a chance to wonder if there is any hope that Mikel Arteta and Erik ten Hag will give us a mini Arsene Wenger against Alex Ferguson.
The scandal between Bruno Fernandes and Gabriel Magalhaes gave us hints of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira (in different positions, of course) and the fire in the eyes of goalscorers Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka in particular showed us what it can mean to score a big goal in this match.
What would this have looked like with Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus and Diogo Dalot?
Arsenal project still a bit ahead of Man United
Erik ten Hag doesn’t have all his pieces and the distance between the two sides may not be a gap, but still noticeable.
Even factoring in home advantage, the injuries to Diogo Dalot and Anthony Martial and – most critically – the suspension of Casemiro, Arsenal were ready to go from the jump and United spent much of the day adjusting to the dictates of the game’s hosts.
Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka limited the still influential Bruno Fernandes, and the Gunners had more than half the ball plus a significant advantage on shot attempts and expected goals.
But Ten Hag’s defense didn’t provide much of a chance for a gifted team who needed a remarkable goal from Saka en route to a point – there are questions about the backs on Nketiah’s marker – and Raphael Varane was a bit of a cheat code when he was sane . .
United are one step behind the Gunners at the moment and Nketiah’s winner was deserved and decisive, but sign us up for front row seats when these games take place next season.
Stars of the show
Arsenal head to Manchester City on Friday for an FA Cup fourth round match before moving on to Everton in the Premier League on February 4.
Man United have three cup games ahead of their next Premier League outing, which will be against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on February 4. United face Nottingham Forest in a League Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday, host Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday and then welcome Forest for a second leg on February 1.
Mikel Arteta Response
“It doesn’t get much better than that after a derby, to come here and win like that makes it even better. …. Mentally and emotionally we were very calm and determined at the same time. We never panicked and kept believing in it, doing the same things even better than before.
“You can talk about maturity, but it was about faith and quality, to show the perseverance to take the game where we wanted. I am very happy and thank you to the audience.”
Video highlights Arsenal vs Manchester United: Arsenal 2-2 Man United
Marcus Rashford goal video: Man United take 1-0 lead (17′)
Goal Video Eddie Nketiah: Granit Xhaka Gets Fifth PL Assist This Season (24′)
Bukayo Saka goal video: Arsenal star delivers fantastic goal from distance (53′)
Goal video Lisandro Martinez: Desperate header hits loose ball over the line (59′)
Eddie Nketiah goal video: Deft touch gives Arsenal victory (90′)
Eddie Nketiah comes through in a MASSIVE way.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) January 22, 2023
How to watch Arsenal vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time
Kickoff: 11:30am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: NBC
Online: Stream at NBCSports.com
Main storylines and players in shape to watch
Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey, William Saliba and Aaron Ramsdale continue to excel and the backbone of the team has seen Arsenal in shape and on fire. Even without Gabriel Jesus they haven’t missed a beat with Eddie Nketiah admirable. After this game against United, they have an FA Cup game and then a Premier League game against Manchester City to negotiate, but a very easy series of games. It really deserved to be at the top of the table at this stage and a win against United would see many predict the Gunners holding the Premier League trophy in one hand.
United fouled Palace midway through the week when Michael Olise’s stunning stoppage-time free-kick stripped them of another win. United weren’t ruthless enough, but they are still way ahead of where everyone thought they would be this season. Marcus Rashford has been on fire in recent weeks, while Luke Shaw has been a revelation at centre-back, but stood in his usual spot at left-back for a tasty battle against Saka. Bruno Fernandes has scored in back-to-back matches and powers the attacking unit and Casemiro has been exceptional but he is suspended for this match which is a huge blow. Scott McTominay or Fred are expected to replace him in the line-up alongside Christian Eriksen in midfield.
Arsenal team news, injuries, line-up
Gabriel Jesus and Reiss Nelson stay out, while Mohamed Elneny has knocked. Mikel Arteta rolls out the same starting lineup over and over again, and why not?
🔴 TEAM NEWS ⚪️
🧱 Gabriel in the back
🪄 Odegaard in midfield
📞 Nketiah leads the line
👊 Take on the battle – together! pic.twitter.com/OjJqnWU9W9
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 22, 2023
Manchester United team news, injuries, line-up
Jadon Sancho, Diogo Dalot and Donny van de Beek are injured and Casemiro is suspended. Scott McTominay replaces Casemiro in the starting line-up, while Anthony Martial is out, so Wout Weghorst starts top again
🚨 TEAM NEWS 🚨
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 22, 2023