MANCHESTER, England –
Marcus Rashford’s double and a debut goal for Antony secured Manchester United their fourth straight win as a 3-1 win ended Arsenal’s perfect start to the Premier League on Sunday.
Antony, signed on deadline day, got a starting spot after only joining on Thursday and took just 35 minutes to score his first goal, with the $95million Ajax signing having a cool shot with him fended off with his left foot.
By that point, Arsenal winger Gabriel Martinelli had ruled out a goal after VAR referee Paul Tierney advised that Martin Odegaard’s challenge against Christian Eriksen be pre-vetted.
Arsenal started the second half strongly and equalized through Bukayo Saka, only United hit back when a brilliant through ball from Bruno Fernandes sent Rashford across the goal.
Rashford, 24, picked up his second after Eriksen served it up in the 75th minute as United won four straight Premier League games for the first time since April 2021.
Arsenal’s streak of five straight games to open the season came to an end, but the visitors dominated big spells at Old Trafford, suggesting they may be in contention for a place in the top four this season.
The atmosphere at Old Trafford was rocking and the game started briskly to a backdrop of anti-glazer property chants that went on throughout.
Eriksen fired just wide of the far post after catching a deep cross from Diogo Dalot, while William Saliba at the other end missed a good chance when the ball fell to him in the box.
Jadon Sancho followed up quick footwork with a low drive that Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale kept out and a frantic opening reached a crescendo in the 12th.
Odegaard dispossessed Eriksen before Saka Martinelli prevailed, with in-form striker passing David de Gea.
But Arsenal’s celebrations were stopped by the VAR and the referee finally decided the goal after going to the pitchside monitor and mistaking Odegaard for a foul on Eriksen.
Antony bent over wastefully wide from distance as play was disrupted by fouls and treatments before Arsenal had some decent chances.
Martinelli was able to parry a low try from a tight angle that De Gea couldn’t sneak in at the near post, and shortly after that prevented him from going home with a superb save.
Those stops provided the platform for United to take the lead.
Eriksen played across the lines to Fernandes and the referee played advantage as the Portuguese crossed to Sancho before being fouled by Gabriel.
The winger fed Rashford, whose delicate pass saw Antony roll a left foot shot past Ramsdale. The new boy made the most of the celebrations.
There were a couple of half-chances as half-time approached before Arsenal returned from the break with renewed intensity.
Gabriel Jesus found Odegaard with a cross he couldn’t get clean and Saka shot over as the visitors processed another chance. Tyrell Malacia’s attempt to stop the latter ended with criminal charges being ignored.
Saka’s raft cross then landed on the crossbar while United continued to press.
Cristiano Ronaldo came on for Antony but Arsenal’s pressure eased in the 60th minute.
After intercepting the ball, the Gunners quickly launched an attack. Odegaard slipped into Jesus, with Dalot’s tackle on him, who accidentally put the ball in Saka’s path to bat.
It was no less than the league leaders deserved back then, but they were only even for six minutes.
United picked up a loose pass and launched a break, with Fernandes’ superb ball putting through Rashford to hit a drive that defeated Ramsdale and rippled the back of the net before the Stretford End.
The Arsenal keeper chipped away from Fernandes and took the ball out of his net again in the 75th minute after Jesus got close on the other end.
Fernandes made excellent use of the visitors’ high line with a pass that freed Eriksen. The veteran midfielder lined up the ball for Rashford to score his second goal.
United moved up to fifth, three points behind Arsenal.