Football News

“There are games that define seasons” – Arsenal 3-2 Man Utd player ratings

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:45, 22 January 2023

Arsenal showed their Premier League-winning credentials with a 3-2 win over Manchester United this evening.

Mikel Arteta’s men came from behind to seal all three points which they snatched from the jaws of a draw. Eddie Nketiah was the Gunner’s hero, drawing the hosts level following Marcus Rashford’s opener before netting a 90th-minute winner. In between Bukayo Saka and Lisandro Martinez would find the net.

“It’s an incredible victory – the way it happened,” former Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas told Sky Sports. “There are games that define seasons. There is still a long way to go but as a player sometimes you just feel that something special is happening. You can feel the togetherness. Can they come back in difficult moments? And today they showed they can.”

Here’s how the players rated at the Emirates Stadium:

Arsenal

Aaron Ramsdale – 5 – Was unable to call upon last weekend’s heroics as Rashford’s long-range effort beat him all ends up. Incidentally, the earliest goal Arsenal had conceded this season. He did though produce a wonderful save to deny Rashford soon after Arsenal went in front. But he should have done better from the corner which ended up seeing Martínez level proceedings.

Oleksandr Zinchenko – 6.5 – Expected to face a stern examination in the guise of Antony but it never really came. Zinchenko instead often found himself in United’s half and even got a shot away.

Gabriel – 5.5 – Came up with an important block late on. The more adventurous of Arsenal’s centre-back duo he often popped up in United’s penalty area following a routine corner or freekick.


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William Saliba – 6 – A colossus in Arsenal’s backline. Saliba won three aerial duels more than anyone on the pitch.

Ben White – 4 – The first name in Anthony Taylor’s notebook. White, now a marauding right-back, was more on the backfoot than usual due to Rashford’s presence. Hooked off at half-time.

Granit Xhaka – 6.5 – As industrious as ever. Xhaka’s brilliant cross was headed in by Nketiah, aside from that one important attacking play the Swiss ensured Arsenal won today’s midfield battle. He finished this contest having created the most chances (four).

Thomas Partey – 6 – Did his usual excellent job in retaining and recycling possession. Xhaka-Partey is fast becoming a credible title-winning midfield tandem.

Martin Ødegaard – 8.5 – A player reborn this season. Ødegaard’s talent has never been in question though being able to fulfil it was most observers’ concern. That is no longer a thought as the Norwegian playmaker has since transformed into a Kevin De Bruyne regen. He’s pulling the strings, everything positive Arsenal do comes through him.

Gabriel Martinelli – 7 – Had fun on Arsenal’s left flank up against Wan-Bissaka and was unfortunate not to impact the scoreboard via a goal or assist.

Eddie Nketiah – 9 – As touched upon following the demolish job on Spurs last time out he’s been nothing but good in Gabriel Jesus’ absence. Scored a peach of a header to drag Arsenal back into this contest. His late effort would seal all three points.”He’s been brilliant Eddie Nketiah. He’s led the line brilliantly,” Gary Neville said on Sky Sports commentary.

Bukayo Saka – 8.5 – Any time he ran at Luke Shaw the United left-back would continually drop back instead of squaring up which goes to show the respect he has for Saka who can now be placed among the best wingers in England’s top division. His goal to put Arsenal in front was a thing of beauty.

Substitutes:

Takehiro Tomiyasu (for White 46) – 6 – Credited with the assist for Saka’s goal.

Leandro Trossard (for Martinelli 82) – N/A – The debuting Belgian forward was a late sub.

Rob Holding (for Ødegaard 90+2) – N/A – A late sub.


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Man Utd

David de Gea – 5 – Taunted by the Arsenal faithful every time he got on the ball due to his obvious weakness in possession. De Gea’s uncomfortableness would even see him needlessly boot the ball into touch early into the match.

Luke Shaw – 3.5 – Booked for an unneeded shove on Saka who kept the rejuvenated full-back honest throughout.

Lisandro Martínez – 7 – Completed the most passes of any United player. It somewhat made sense due to Ten Hag’s willingness for Man Utd to play from the back and Martínez is by far their most comfortable defender in possession. If that wasn’t enough United’s warrior took it upon himself to drag them back into the game. His first in a Red Devil shirt.

Raphaël Varane – 4 – His wealth of experience should have come in handy once Arsenal took over the game but there was nothing he could really do.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 4.5 – His quality when coming to one-v-one defending shone, but Wan-Bissaka’s lack of ball-playing ability undid Man Utd’s good early work, Gabriel Martinelli’s picking his pocket ultimately led to Arsenal’s equaliser. 

Scott McTominay – 4.5 – Brought in after Casemiro totted up the number of yellow cards required for an automatic suspension. McTominay brings an entirely different skillset but due to Arsenal cannibalising possession and Man Utd’s play coming down their flanks the Scottish international was often a passenger.

Christian Eriksen – 4 – He could have done better in closing Saka down, but it’s fair to say the Dane wasn’t playing for his defensive work. Eriksen though was quiet on United’s attacking front.

Marcus Rashford – 7 – Hadn’t scored a Premier League away goal for two years before today’s match (the last 26 games he’s started). Has been in sensational form since returning from the World Cup finals. 

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Bruno Fernandes – 5 – Fired up from the start. Fernandes thought he won Man Utd an early penalty but it was nothing more than a coming together with Ramsdale, that moment aside the Portugual deep-lying forward was predominantly subdued.

Antony – 5.5 – Unfortunately the Brazilian forward, who made his Premier League debut in the reverse fixture (subsequently putting Man Utd in front), was all show and no go. Enjoyed some touches only to display his strong dribbling but he seldom furthered the ball into a dangerous area. In fact, no one this evening attempted more take-ons than him. 

Wout Weghorst – 5 – Retained his starting berth due to a lack of available options for Ten Hag, he was again tasked with defending from the front by pressurising Arsenal’s backline once they were in possession. 

Substitutes:

Fred (for Antony 71) – 6 – Had to be introduced due to United being continually overwhelmed.

Alejandro Garnacho (for Varane 90+1) – N/A – A late sub.