Arsenal 3-2 Man United: Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Nketiah
Final Result: Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United (Nketiah 24′, 90′, Saka 53′ | Rashford 17′, Martinez 59′)
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; White (Tomiyasu 46′), Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard (Holding 93′), Martinelli (Trossard 82′); Nketiah
Arsenal welcomed Manchester United into the buzzing atmosphere of the Emirates Stadium for what was set to be an absolute showdown between the two giants. With the pitch in wet and pristine condition, and over 60,350 spectators, the stage was set for what proved to be a pulsating encounter
Both sides came into the match, unbeaten in their last five in the league (4W,1D) apiece. Manchester united arrived at the Emirates without the suspended midfield destroyer, Casemiro, and having triumphed over Arsenal in September at Old Trafford, inflicting the Gunners only defeat in the league this season.
Manchester United also had an in-form Marcus Rashford, that has been in imperious form and the visitors knew they had their own arsenal in their armory. However, they have lost five of their last seven visits on the Emirates.
Arsenal still remained without the injured Gabriel Jesus, they had their new signing, Leandro Trossard, on the bench and came into the tie eight points ahead of Manchester United, but the pressure kept mounting as close contenders and defending champions, Manchester City, had earlier dispatched Wolves in the afternoon, courtesy of a magnificent _haa_-trick from Erling Haaland.
Arsenal named an unchanged side from their last league outing, while Manchester United gave Scott McTominay his first start since September, for the Suspended Casemiro. The Gunners burst into life in the first few minutes, like they’ve always shown in previous encounters, but Manchester united were able to weather the storm. The first noteworthy event of the game came early on, as United had a penalty appeal turned down, thanks to some theatrics from Bruno Fernandez going down under little to no pressure.
With proceedings simmering down, Thomas Partey carelessly lost possession the ball in the middle of the park, United picked it up and Bruno Fernandes rolled it to Rashford, The United man in Red Hot form, Easily skipped past the Ghanaian maverick Partey, and unleashed a low venomous drive that beat Aaron Ramsdale for his Ninth goal in Nine games.
Ben White picked up a yellow for a late lunge on Rashford. Following that booking, the fullback struggled in the course of the game, and was eventually substituted by Takehiro Tomiyasu at Halftime.
Arsenal stepped up the pressure and almost got back into the Game, as Granit Xhaka teed up Eddie Nketiah, who saw his shot blocked for a corner. The Gunners got the perfect response, six minutes later, after some intricate passing play down the left side, as Martin Odegaard released Xhaka who flashed a delightful cross across the face of goal for Nketiah to head home, as Aaron Wan Bissaka was caught ball-watching. It was the perfect start to a game of such billing.
Both sides went in level at the break. Antony was in the spotlight yet again, as he earned a yellow card for a kick on Oleksandr Zinchenko as the second half started exactly the way the first half had ended, with Arsenal on the ascendancy. Xhaka was almost put through after some delightful Wizardry from Odegaard. That pass was orgasmic, to say the least.
Arsenal kept pilling up the pressure and soon found reward for their hard-earned efforts. Saka, notched up his eighth goal of the season, with a Beautifully struck low shot from 25 yards out, just out of the outstretched hands of the sprawling De Gea.
Ramsdale, in the 55th minute, with so little to do all night was called upon after Rashford managed to squeeze a shot out of nothing, and what an audacious Save it was, with the Arsenal shot stopper getting a strong hand to parry the ball away.
Manchester United got back on level terms in the 59th minute when Ramsdale, under no pressure or whatsoever, somehow managed to make a mess of a decent catch, allowing Lisandro Martinez to get his maiden goal in a United Shirt, by scooping the ball over the defenders and hapless goalie.
Chances kept coming at both ends with Rashford and Saka doing their bit to make things tappen. Arsenal kept possession of the ball with some beautiful football, and with the match approaching the 70th minute, it was delicately poised.
Saka had a shot deflected and still managed to hit the right post with De Gea rooted to the spot.
Arsenal kept pilling the pressure as United just couldn’t get out. Late on, De Gea produced a moment of world class save, as he instinctively got down to deny Nketiah’s low drive in the six-yard box.
With the game drawing to a close, both sides chased a winner. Right at the death, new signing, Leandro Trossard, picked up the ball in the middle of the park and drove right towards the opposition box before releasing Zinchenko down the flank, who cut back to Odegaard who managed to squeeze out a deflected shot which Nketiah directed in, sending the Emirates Stadium into raptures.
Questionable calls for Offside, but after nervy VAR Checks, the goal was given.
Arsenal held on for the win, Which took them 11 Points above Manchester United and maintained their five points above nearest Chasers, Manchester City.
Cometh the hour, Cometh the Nketiah
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