Carrick Steps Down: 5 Things We Learned From Manchester United 3-2 Arsenal
Manchester United ended their winless run in the Premier League with a comeback 2-0 victory over Arsenal.
Two second-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo following Bruno Fernandes’ equaliser before the break ensured Michael Carrick’s short reign in charge of United ended with all three points.
The young playmaking duo of Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard were both on the score-sheet for the visitors, and were perhaps the only positive to take back to London for Mikel Arteta, who was massively let down by his seniors players.
1. 800 and 801
Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in history to score 800 top-level career goals on Thursday.
There are serious doubts over his future under Ralf Rangnick, but as long as he remains his usual clinical self, the 36-year-old will continue to start under any manager and keep etching his name in the record books.
2. Arsenal vs. Big Sides
Arteta’s men continue to struggle against heavyweights opponents. David de Gea’s blunder gave them a great chance to register a statement win at Old Trafford and widen the gap to eight points.
But as soon as they went ahead, Arsenal stopped pressing and dropped deep to invite consistent attacks from the hosts, and were duly punished by United’s star-studded frontline.
The North London outfit have lost all four of their league games against the teams who finished in the top 4 last season. They are unlikely to displace any of them from the Champions League spots if they maintain this dreadful run.
3. Adventurous Full-backs
Rangnick prefers his full-backs to provide attacking width. As such, he must’ve enjoyed the performance of both Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles, who kept knocking on Arsenal’s doors.
The Brazilian left-back, however, needs to work on his defensive positioning. He was found too narrow far too often, and ended up leaving an acre of space for Gabriel Martinelli to find Odegaard, who cancelled out United’s second goal. Interestingly, that goal came after Dalot played a great ball to pick out Rashford.
4. Chaotic Fred
The Brazilian midfielder was at the centre of everything good and bad that happened at Old Trafford. He unintentionally stepped on De Gea’s foot, leading to an empty net for Smith Rowe to aim at for the opening goal.
Nevertheless, he redeemed himself through his tireless pressing and playing a direct role in two of his side’s three goals on the night. In the first-half, he set up Fernandes with a square pass for the equaliser. Late on in the game, Odegaard’s foul on Fred resulted in a decisive penalty for the Red Devils.
5. Carrick Bows Out Unbeaten
Carrick confirmed his decision to step down as first team coach at the club in his post-match interview.
The 40-year-old leaves the Theatre of Dreams after 15 years with his head held high. With two wins and a draw in his three games as the caretaker manager, the former classy midfielder hands over the reins to Rangnick after bringing in some stability to the side.