In a thrilling turnaround that ignited Arsenal’s season and prolonged Manchester United’s away-day struggles, Declan Rice’s late goal sealed a dramatic victory. The Emirates Stadium echoed with Arsenal fans’ chants, while United’s anguish knew no bounds. Alejandro Garnacho, a United substitute, appeared to have secured victory when he capitalized on a Bruno Fernandes pass in the 89th minute, beating Aaron Ramsdale. However, Arsenal’s fortunes took a dramatic turn.
VAR Drama and Arsenal’s Resurgence:
First, VAR detected a fractionally offside position as Garnacho started his run. On closer inspection, it seemed that Gabriel Magalhães, the last Arsenal defender, had made a crucial step forward. Then Arsenal mounted a dramatic comeback.
Debate Over Deserving Winners:
The question of whether Arsenal deserved the win was debatable after a topsy-turvy game marked by uninspiring play and imprecise combinations from both teams. However, most spectators let their emotions take over.
Declan Rice’s Heroics:
In the final moments of stoppage time, Declan Rice, unmarked beyond the far post, capitalized on a corner. He deflected his shot off United’s substitute Jonny Evans to beat André Onana. It marked Rice’s first goal for Arsenal since his £105 million summer move from West Ham.
Late Miss by Saka and Gabriel Jesus’ Heroics:
In the 81st minute, Arsenal believed they had taken the lead when Bukayo Saka’s shot was saved by Onana’s feet. A collective gasp from the home crowd followed as they saw the replay on the big screen, realizing Saka had missed a golden opportunity. Nonetheless, Arsenal secured the victory when another substitute, Gabriel Jesus, raced past Diogo Dalot in injury time and scored, sending the stadium into ear-splitting pandemonium. This win marked Arsenal’s third consecutive victory over United at the Emirates Stadium, a feat they hadn’t achieved in the league since 1991. In their previous six meetings at this venue, Arsenal had won five and drawn one against United.
Questionable Start and Rashford’s Brilliance:
The match raised several questions, including how United managed to take the lead in the 27th minute. Up to that point, they had struggled to advance beyond the midfield and had been shaky when building from the back. Arsenal settled quickly, aiming to play on the offensive, and created the first significant chance when Kai Havertz missed an opportunity.
United’s Struggles and Injury Woes:
United arrived at the Emirates Stadium with six points but needed a more cohesive performance to address pressing questions surrounding their performance. Injuries had taken a toll, with key players like Raphaël Varane, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, and Mason Mount unavailable. Lisandro Martínez also suffered an injury during the match. Despite the challenges, both teams provided an exciting spectacle, with late drama ultimately favoring Arsenal and extending United’s away-day struggles under Ten Hag.