Football News

Arsenal 3-1 Man Utd: Player ratings as Declan Rice seals VAR-dominated contest in historic fashion

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:50, 3 September 2023

Historic rivals Arsenal and Manchester United faced off in a Premier League showdown at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

Both came into this mouthwatering contest in contrasting form with the Gunners looking certain to be Manchester City’s nearest challengers again while Erik ten Hag’s team still feels very much in rebuilding mode. On top of that United’s record against the other top nine teams on the road last season was lamentable (no wins, one draw and eight losses)

United went in front through Marcus Rashford and thought substitute Alejandro Garnacho sealed all three points minutes from time. However, following Martin Ødegaard’s equaliser, big summer acquisition Declan Rice boosted his status among the Gunners faithful with a late strike. Garnacho’s effort was disallowed following VAR’s intervention.

Kai Havertz with the game at 1-1 thought he won a penalty but that was also ruled out via the same process. With their heads down Gabriel Jesus completed the scoring to give Arteta’s men a famous 3-1 win over their long-time foes.

“A Gunners’ growl quite rarely you have heard. Rice, Rice Baby, and the Angel Gabriel stole it right at the end. That is why you pay big bucks. That is how big players grow on the biggest days,” said Peter Drury on Sky Sports commentary.

As the dust starts to settle here are our player ratings:



Aaron Ramsdale – 5.5 – For every goal he concedes the camera will undoubtedly fall on David Raya. Ramsdale had nothing to do before picking the ball out of his goal following Rashford’s cut-from-inside goal.

Oleksandr Zinchenko – 5 – Making his first start for Arsenal since May and began erratically before settling.

Gabriel – 6 – When called upon the Brazilian didn’t put a foot wrong having won 100% of his attempted tackles as well as making a crucial interception.

William Saliba – 7 – Perhaps the best central defender in England’s top division. Arsenal missed his domineering and composed presence, which he exuded in today’s clash, during last season’s title run-in.

Ben White – 5.5 – As harsh as it may sound he could have done better for the Rashford opener.

Kai Havertz – 5 – Had the game’s first big chance. With the goal at his mercy, Havertz completely fluffed his lines. “He had a swing at it and made a right mess,” came Gary Neville’s response on Sky Sports commentary. Moments later his sloppy pass ultimately led to Man Utd’s opener.

Declan Rice – 8.5 – A performance worthy of Patrick Vieria and Roy Keane who once ruled this fixture. It was fitting he sealed all three points (timed after 95 minutes and 43 seconds which is the latest winning goal in Premier League matches between these sides).

“That’s why he came here,” exclaimed Gary Neville. “Big moments, big players.”

Martin Ødegaard – 8 – After seeing his side go behind against the run of play he levelled proceedings with a sweet thunderbolt. Ødegaard is very much the leader of this youthful Gunners team.

Gabriel Martinelli – 8 – Too often guilty of being overindulgent but today the Brazilian forward was focused and gave Arteta’s side a consistent threat from their left flank. He ended with ten touches in the opposition box, more than any other player on the pitch.

Eddie Nketiah – 5 – With a fit Gabriel Jesus available chances are Nketiah starts on the bench, however, the Arsenal forward is no stranger to being handed an opportunity but couldn’t make it count as he too often played on the periphery.

Bukayo Saka – 6 – Experienced the unique scenario of winning a foul before immediately seeing yellow for committing one while in the process of being fouled. From an offensive perspective, the oft-reliable England forward put in one of his more inconsistent performances, though he did end up assisting Rice’s winner. 


Gabriel Jesus (for Nketiah 75) – N/A – Came on to score his first Premier League goal against Man Utd in the 11th minute of stoppage time.

Fábio Vieira (for Havertz 75) – N/A – A late sub.

Takehiro Tomiyasu (for Zinchenko 75) – N/A – A late sub.

Reiss Nelson (for Martinelli 89) – N/A – A late sub.

Jorginho (for Ødegaard 90+7) – N/A – A late sub.

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Man Utd

André Onana – 6 – Nothing he could have done to stop Ødegaard’s strike. Incredibly only three Man Utd players completed more passes than him.

Diogo Dalot – 7.5 – Enjoyed a fascinating battle with Saka which consequently forced him to play on the backfoot thus not providing United with an option to overlap.

Lisandro Martínez – 5.5 – Made numerous key interventions while Arsenal were on top as the game was scoreless. The more composed member of United’s central defensive pairing before a mistimed lunge on Nketiah, which saw him booked, ended his day.

Victor Lindelöf – 5 – In for the injured Raphaël Varane having failed to start United’s previous two Premier League outings. Also became the first player to enter Anthony Taylor’s book after recklessly bringing Eddie Nketiah down.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7 – Not one to shirk away from a one-on-one battle though it’s fair to say Martinelli caused him more problems than any other wide player to date. That being said, Wan-Bissaka won eight duels and completed three tackles, more than any other player in either metric.

Christian Eriksen – 6 – His pass/assist to Marcus Rashford was exquisite. Aside from that Eriksen 

Casemiro – 4.5 – A problem that needs fixing if United are to make the next step. Too often was their midfield lynchpin isolated as the Gunners controlled the middle third.

Marcus Rashford – 6 – Hardly touched the ball before putting the visitors ahead in what is now becoming a trademark run and finish. Once the visitors found their groove Rashford would consistently be involved in United’s attack but was too often wasteful. 

Bruno Fernandes – 5 – The ‘creative machine’ Kevin De Bruyne spoke about was malfunctioning. Fernandes can be a brilliant footballer but when things are not going United’s way he’s prone to histrionics which came on display more often than not under the London sunshine.

Antony – 5.5 – You never know what you’re going to get from the mercurial São Paulo native with this being another subdued attacking outing though he put in a credible defensive shift. 

Anthony Martial – 3 – Another outing not worth writing home about. Either it’s the system or fitness as Martial was again hardly seen. It will not be long before he loses this starting berth.


Harry Maguire (for Martínez 67) – 4 – A surprise to many that he’s still around. Maguire was just there in the end.

Rasmus Højlund (for Martial 67) – 4 – Came on to make his Man Utd debut but it wasn’t to be a fairytale one. Højlund though will feel the pressure of expectation if he doesn’t hit the ground running after the international break.

Alejandro Garnacho (for Antony 83) – 4.5 – Thought he scored the winner, but VAR ruled it offside.

Jonny Evans (for Lindelof 83) – N/A – A late sub.