In a pre-season friendly match that saw Arsenal go up against Manchester United at the iconic MetLife Stadium, the Gunners suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Red Devils.
The match was an opportunity for both teams to fine-tune their strategies ahead of the upcoming season, but it was Man United who emerged victorious with a confident display.
The game’s opening goal came from the boot of Bruno Fernandes, whose powerful strike from distance found the back of the net after Arsenal’s goalkeeper, Aaron Ramsdale, failed to keep it out.
Despite Arsenal’s efforts to get back into the game, they were further undone when a defensive error from Gabriel allowed Jadon Sancho to double Man United’s lead with a composed finish.
The Gunners attempted to stage a comeback in the second half, but their efforts were in vain, and they tasted their first pre-season defeat. As the match ended, it wasn’t all over for the players, as they proceeded to a penalty shootout. Unfortunately for Arsenal, Fabio Vieira missed his spot-kick, allowing Man United to seal a 5-3 victory in the shootout.
Let’s take a closer look at how the Arsenal players fared during this pre-season clash:
Aaron Ramsdale (Goalkeeper) – Rating: 5/10
Ramsdale’s night got off to a rocky start when he failed to stop Fernandes’ long-range strike. He struggled to get near any of the five penalties during the shootout.
Jurrien Timber (Defender) – Rating: 8/10
Timber had an impressive outing, forming a strong partnership with Bukayo Saka down the right flank while also providing support in the middle. His pace and defensive skills were evident, making him look like a brilliant signing for Arsenal.
William Saliba (Defender) – Rating: 6/10
Saliba displayed his usual composed style of play and was solid defensively. Though less involved than his defensive partner, he showed no signs of being hindered by his previous back injury.
Gabriel (Defender) – Rating: 5/10
Despite being dominant in the air and having a strong start to the game, Gabriel’s wild swing at thin air allowed Sancho to capitalize and score the second goal for Man United.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (Defender) – Rating: 6/10
While Tomiyasu performed well defensively, his ability to contribute to Arsenal’s attack was limited when playing at left-back. The team missed his presence further up the field.
Declan Rice (Midfielder) – Rating: 6/10
Left exposed at times due to an unbalanced midfield formation, Rice had a relatively quiet first start for Arsenal. Nevertheless, he helped out the defense when needed, particularly against long balls over the top.
Martin Odegaard (Midfielder) – Rating: 6/10
Odegaard showed glimpses of his usual playmaking abilities, setting up chances for his teammates. However, Arsenal’s midfield lacked control overall, and Odegaard struggled to make a significant impact.
Kai Havertz (Midfielder) – Rating: 5/10
Havertz had a subdued first-half, lacking attacking threat and struggling defensively. His frustration continued into the second half, culminating in a headed chance that went over the bar.
Bukayo Saka (Forward) – Rating: 7/10
Saka was a constant threat for Arsenal in the first 30 minutes, causing problems for Luke Shaw and combining effectively with Jurrien Timber. However, his influence dwindled as the match progressed.
Eddie Nketiah (Forward) – Rating: 6/10
Nketiah missed a significant chance early in the second half after being played in by Odegaard. Despite trying to lead the line, he couldn’t make a decisive impact on the game.
Gabriel Martinelli (Forward) – Rating: 6/10
Martinelli’s energetic presence was notable, but he failed to convert two key chances in quick succession, firing both shots at Man United’s goalkeeper, Tom Heaton. His impact faded as the game wore on.
Several substitutions were made by Arsenal in an attempt to turn the tide, but they failed to make a significant difference to the overall outcome of the match.
While the result was disheartening for Arsenal, the pre-season provides a valuable opportunity for Mikel Arteta to assess his team’s performance and make necessary adjustments before the start of the upcoming season.
As the transfer window continues, both clubs will be looking to strengthen their squads to ensure they are competitive in their respective league campaigns.