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Antony scores as Manchester United end Arsenal’s perfect start

Antony scores as Manchester United end Arsenal’s perfect start

Debutant Antony set Manchester United on their way to a rousing 3-1 win over Arsenal at Old Trafford this afternoon, ending the Gunners’ 100% start to the Premier League season in the process.

The £85m summer signing was thrown straight into the starting lineup at the first available opportunity following his deadline day move from Ajax, and he immediately endeared himself to his new fans with the opening goal 10 minutes before half time.

Bukayo Saka deservedly restored parity for the visitors on the hour mark, but they were level for only six minutes before Marcus Rashford restored his side’s lead.

The England international then doubled his personal tally to end the game with two goals and an assist, sealing a fourth consecutive win for his side to lift them up to fifth in the Premier League table.

Arsenal more than played their part in the contest and may feel that a two-goal deficit is harsh having seen a goal controversially disallowed, David de Gea twice save from Gabriel Martinelli, and Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka both miss good chances.

Mikel Arteta‘s decision to chase the game with attacking substitutions after falling 2-1 behind against the run of play ultimately allowed Man United to put the game to bed on the break, though, as the Red Devils picked up only their second win in their last nine Premier League meetings with Arsenal.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring their second goal with Bruno Fernandes and teammates on September 4, 2022© Reuters

On a weekend where VAR has been in the spotlight more than ever, another controversial decision threatened to overshadow the contest when Martinelli saw what he thought was the opening goal disallowed by referee Paul Tierney after going to watch the incident on the monitor.

It was another contentious decision – given for a soft foul by Odegaard on Christian Eriksen in the buildup – and will no doubt raise further questions about how the technology is being used in the Premier League.

Undoubtedly the standout moment of the match for the hosts was Antony’s dream debut goal, with the Brazilian showing the Old Trafford crowd a glimpse of his trademark finish as he stroked Rashford’s through-ball past Aaron Ramsdale with his left foot.

The hosts by no means had things all their own way, though, and Arsenal were well worth the equaliser when it did arrive, Saka firing home after the ball fell to him inside the box.

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring their first goal with Granit Xhaka on September 4, 2022© Reuters

Indeed, Arteta’s side were still on top when they got hit on the counter-attack as Rashford raced clear of the defence to latch on to a fine through-ball from Bruno Fernandes and slide his finish past the keeper.

Ramsdale was needed to deny Fernandes moments later having given the ball away cheaply himself, but there was nothing he could do when Rashford capped off the scoring 15 minutes from time as Eriksen took full advantage of Arsenal’s high line to find himself through on goal before unselfishly squaring the ball to Rashford for a simple finish.

That goal seemed to take the wind out of Arsenal’s sails and they were largely reduced to shots from range during the closing stages as Man United secured a fourth successive league win since their humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brentford.

For their part, Arsenal remain top of the early Premier League table, but miss the chance to move four points clear of champions Manchester City having dropped their first points of the season.

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