Manchester United have continued their impressive unbeaten run under interim manager, Michael Carrick despite the arrival of another interim manager, Ralf Ragnick as they came from behind to defeat Arsenal 3-2 at Old Trafford in the late kick off on Thursday night.

Arsenal opened the scoring in bizarre circumstances through Emile Smith Rowe, before goals from Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo turned the game on the head in favour of the home team.


Arsenal hit back through Martin Odegaard, before the Norwegian conceded a silly penalty, which was converted by Ronaldo to seal the victory for the Reds.

After making a decision to start Ronaldo on the bench against Chelsea, Carrick brought back the Portuguese into the starting lineup along with Diogo Dalot and Harry Maguire, who had just completed his suspension.

Two changes from the Arsenal side that defeated Newcastle last weekend. Bukayo Saka, who was substituted following an injury against the Magpies was only fit enough to start on the bench and his replacement on that occasion, Gabriel Martinelli started in his place in the lineup. Albert Sambi Lokonga was also dropped for Mohamed Elneny.

The home side got the first sniff of goal in the 12th minute. Thomas Partey's heavy touch allowed Fred to win the ball, playing Ronaldo through on goal. The forward could only manage his effort wide from the angle.

A minute later, Arsenal would take the lead in arguably the most bizarre of circumstances through Emile Smith Rowe.

An Arsenal corner was cleared by the Manchester United defence to Elneny on the edge of the box, who set up Smith Rowe. While the corner was taken, Fred had stepped on De Gea in what looked like a mild contact after several replays.

The goalkeeper perhaps thought it was an Arsenal player who had committed the foul and went to ground easily. Almost everyone was oblivious of that, including referee Martin Atkinson and the ball fell to Smith Rowe from Elneny's header. The Hale End Academy graduate hit a first time volley on his weaker left foot. The ball had crossed the line before the referee saw De Gea on the ground and sounded his whistle.

The goalkeeper was thereafter treated and the goal was undoubtedly subjected to VAR review to ascertain what transpired. The replays showed the contact was by Fred, which was not a foul and the goal stood. Moreso the referee only blew his whistle after the ball from Smith Rowe had crossed the goal line.

The decision infuriated the United players, who felt a bit undone, understandably so and this looked like what propelled them to carry on and give their utmost in the game.

There was protests by the Arsenal camp when the referee refused to stop play With Nuno Tavares down with a head injury. The left back was clattered into by Dalot and the referee allowed play continue much to the the chagrin on the travelling team. He was only able to receive treatment after the ball had gone out of play.

The lead should have been two for Arsenal, but for poor finishing from Martinelli. It's a good hold up play by Odegaard towards the corner flag o the right side, peeling off two defenders before setting up Martinelli, who positioned himself for a shot with his weaker left foot, which could only find the side netting at his near post.

It was game on with half time knocking as United equalized in the 44th minute. Good play from Jadon Sancho, who seem to have found his rhythm under Carrick down the right to release Fred, who cuts the ball back into the box for Fernandes to sweep home. Aaron Ramsdale got a hand to the ball, but it was not strong enough to keep it out.

Arsenal looked the better side in the first half, but the team talk at half time looked to have spurred the Manchester United players as the game became more open after the interval.

Both teams had opportunities to take the lead. Gabriel Maghaeles headed a corner from Odegaard down the middle, similar to the one he scored against Leicester City. De Gea got a strong hand to it to deny the centre back.

On the flip side, it's Fernandes who does brilliantly on the right side before squaring the ball to Ronaldo, who beats Partey and released a shot from a tight angle, forcing Ramsdale into a near post save.


There was no denying Ronaldo seven minutes after the restart. Dalot does well to pick out Marcus Rashford, who delays for the arrival of Ronaldo, before sending a low cross into the middle to allow the former Juventus forward sweep in.

In an instant response, Arsenal leveled up about two minutes later. Martinelli receiving the ball on the far right side and sends a one-time cross into the middle for the arriving Odegaard, who hit the ball first time into the ground and past De Gea.

Moments after, Arsenal missed a glorious chance to take the lead - Ben White picking out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a ball over the United defence. The Arsenal captain takes it well, but his shot his straight at De Gea, who saves and Tavares couldn't hit the target with his header from the rebound.

Odegaard went from hero to villain in a matter of minutes on either half of the game when he clumsily slid into Fred, who was trying to reach a pass from Sancho. The referee waived play on but had to reconsider after VAR review. He went over to the monitor to check before awarding the penalty that was subsequently converted by Ronaldo.

Aubameyang was not having the best of days as he was hardly in the game and missed rare opportunities. A cross from Takehiro Tomiyasu was deflected by Fred onto the path of Odegaard, who slid the ball to Aubameyang, but his effort from the half volley glued to the palms of De Gea.

Saka had come on to help Arsenal salvage something from the game and he almost did when a cross from the left by Tavares went past everyone in the box to find Saka at the far post. He brings it down well and tried to curl one into far corner, but Fred was there to make a good block.

United almost added gloss on the win with a third in the dying minutes of the game when they broke on a counter. In a three to beat two situation with Sancho on the ball squaring it to Fernandes, only for his shot to be blocked by the recovering Tomiyasu as United held on for the three points.

**Concluding Thoughts**

It was a game that did not disappoint in terms of the quality of football expected from both teams, even though they started poorly with some sloppy passing in the early exchanges.

Once again, Ronaldo has proven vital for Manchester United, scoring his 800th and 801st professional career goals, proving doubters, who felt his return to United was a problem wrong.

The Reds remain unbeaten under Carrick with two wins and one draw on all competitions.

A good show of character from Arsenal who have lost their first game in the last seven encounters against their host, most recently winning this same fixture by a lone goal last season.

Another big problem the Gunners seem to be having is the lack of form of Aubameyang, who seems to have been a shadow of himself since getting that contract renewal signed two summers ago. They will need to find alternatives to their captain if they are to continue on their upward turn.