Player Ratings: Arsenal man goes from hero to zero, as Man Utd pair shine in thriller

Date published: Thursday 2nd December 2021 10:24 - James Holland

Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd

Arsenal star Martin Odegaard went from hero to zero at Old Trafford, as Man Utd pair Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes shone in a 3-2 home win.

Arsenal silenced the home crowd under bizarre circumstances in the 13th minute. Fred trod on David de Gea’s foot during an Arsenal corner, sending the goalkeeper down. He remained on the ground as Smith Rowe proceeded to volley a left-footed strike in the bottom corner.

Man Utd claimed for a free-kick, but after a lengthy wait, referee Martin Atkinson was forced to give the goal.

The Red Devils, who had incoming boss Ralf Rangnick watching on, were level by the 44th minute. Jadon Sancho played in Fred, who proceeded to setup Fernandes with a clever pull-back. The 27-year-old beat Aaron Ramsdale with a composed finish to make it five goals for the season.

Man Utd got in front through talisman Ronaldo in the 52nd minute. Right-back Diogo Dalot won the ball before sending Marcus Rashford off down the wing. The attacker waited for the right moment to play in Ronaldo, who swept into the far corner in style to make it 800 career goals.

But United’s lead lasted just two minutes as Martin Odegaard completed a similar finish at the other end. Thomas Partey played the ball out to Gabriel Martinelli, whose cross was confidently dispatched by the Norwegian playmaker.

Odegaard went from hero to zero 16 minutes later, as he lunged in to bring down Fred inside the Arsenal box. Atkinson was told to check the VAR screen, and soon pointed to the spot. Ronaldo stepped up and smashed the ball past Ramsdale to put his side 3-2 up. They held on to make it two wins from three under the guidance of interim boss Michael Carrick.

Man Utd (4-2-3-1)

David de Gea: Was clearly expecting the whistle to blow while laying on the ground, but criminal of the Spaniard to face away from play while Arsenal were close to goal. Made up for the error slightly with a top reaction save to keep Gabriel out at the start of the second half. 5/10

Diogo Dalot: The Portuguese, who deputised for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Old Trafford, had an early shot on goal saved by Ramsdale. Put in a mature performance and sent Rashford off down the right flank for Ronaldo’s first goal. 8

Victor Lindelof: Put in a few decent headers to keep Arsenal at bay, forming a reasonably solid defensive line. 6

Harry Maguire: The Englishman was composed and confident on his return from suspension. Rifled a shot at goal in the first half but saw it go over. Effectively led the backline, demonstrating his importance to the side. 8

Alex Telles: Put in a few good challenges during the first 45 minutes to prevent Martinelli from getting away on the break. A solid all-round showing from the defender. 7

Scott McTominay: Didn’t get on the ball often but successfully held the team’s shape with midfield partner Fred. 6

Fred: Little he could do about the de Gea incident as it was a simple coming together. Went on to show good vision when laying off Fernandes for Man Utd’s equaliser. Intelligently got in front of Odegaard to win his team a penalty, too. 8

Jadon Sancho: A fairly quiet night for the highly-rated winger. Did well to play the ball into Fred’s path before Fernandes’ equaliser. 7

Bruno Fernandes: Aimed to create whenever he got the ball in the first half, and used his relationship with Ronaldo to great effect throughout the game. Beat Ramsdale with a nice finish from close range, ending his barren run stretching back to September. 9

Marcus Rashford: Perhaps should have got at Tavares more, but showed composure to play in Ronaldo for the home side’s first goal. 7

Cristiano Ronaldo: Had a couple of tame shots at goal in the early stages, which Ramsdale got down to save. Showed great skill to turn away from Partey in the 48th minute, and was unlucky to see Ramsdale keep his subsequent effort out. Got his customary goal after the interval, making it an incredible 800 for club and country. It was 801 in the 70th minute, as the veteran marksman thumped home from the spot after Odegaard had brought down Fred in the box. 10, Man of the Match

Substitutes:

Jesse Lingard (on for Rashford, 79): Had little impact when coming off the bench. 6

Anthony Martial (on for Ronaldo, 88): N/A

Donny van de Beek (on for Fernandes, 90): N/A


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Arsenal (4-4-1-1)

Aaron Ramsdale: Made a few routine saves during the first half. Was properly relied upon at the start of the second half when superbly blocking Ronaldo’s close-range effort. Could do little with either of Ronaldo’s goals, but will be disappointed not to get a big hand on Fernandes’ finish. 6/10

Takehiro Tomiyasu: Solid first-half performance from the 23-year-old, helping to keep Man Utd attackers Sancho and Ronaldo relatively quiet. Great block in the final stages to keep Arsenal within touching distance of an equaliser. 7

Ben White: Alongside Gabriel, managed to keep Ronaldo quiet for large parts but couldn’t do much about the legendary forward’s two goals. Demonstrated his impressive vision with lofted passes into the forwards. 7

Gabriel: A decent display from the centre-back, who perhaps should have done better when heading at goal from a corner. 7

Nuno Tavares: The summer signing looked comfortable, despite it being an intense night at the Theatre of Dreams. 7

Gabriel Martinelli: Young forward looked lively and should have got on the scoresheet shortly before the break. Was sent into the box by Odegaard but dragged his left-footed shot wide. Showed good vision to pick out Odegaard for Arsenal’s second goal. 7

Thomas Partey: Struggled in the first half, especially when under pressure from Fred and McTominay. Got caught out twice in the opening exchanges, allowing Man Utd to have shots at goal through Dalot and Ronaldo. A more assured performance in the second half, involving a good pass out to Martinelli in the build up to Odegaard’s goal. 6

Mohamed Elneny: The Egypt international picked up an assist on his first league start of the season, cleverly heading into Smith Rowe’s path for the opening goal. Influence on the game waned as the second half went on. 6

Emile Smith Rowe: Got up with skipper Aubameyang well in the early stages, helping the striker to challenge de Gea inside 10 minutes. Hit a solid effort to put the Gunners in front, albeit with de Gea still on the floor. 8

Martin Odegaard: Took inspiration from Ronaldo’s goal and did well to beat de Gea to make it 2-2. Then inexplicably slid in to bring down Fred, when he had no chance of getting the ball. A silly error which ended up giving United the three points. 4

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Was involved in some nice link-up play with Smith Rowe early on, but was kept quiet for the rest of the first half. Should have done better on the odd occasion that he did get in behind Lindelof and Maguire. 6

Substitutes:

Bukayo Saka (on for Smith Rowe, 70): Couldn’t get the Gunners the winner, and failed to properly challenge his marker using his pace. 5

Eddie Nketiah (on for Odegaard, 79): N/A

Alexandre Lacazette (on for Aubameyang, 79): N/A

READ MORE: Rooney hopes Rangnick can have ‘big influence’ on Man Utd

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