Manchester United once again failed to be at their best when they needed that the most. After scrapping a win against bottom-placed Norwich and a terrible loss against Liverpool, the Red Devils managed to just about improve their performance, but that was not enough to stop Arsenal from winning at the Emirates.
Mikel Arteta’s side needed just three minutes to go ahead after Nuno Tavares made the most out of United’s comically poor defence. As Victor Lindelof and Alex Telles failed to clear the ball, David de Gea made a great save from Bukayo Saka’s shot, but no one was there to stop Tavares from tapping the ball into the net. Bukayo Saka doubled the lead from the spot after the half hour mark, but Cristiano Ronaldo needed just two minutes to pull one back. Granit Xhaka’s great strike sealed the win for United, after Bruno Fernandes failed to convert from the spot.
Cristiano Writes History On An Emotional Day
This was an emotional day for Cristiano Ronaldo, as the Portuguese returned to the starting XI following his family tragedy. Ronaldo had the composure to help his team despite suffering from a huge personal loss and he even scored a goal which made history. Ronaldo’s goal 34 minutes into the match was his 100th in the Premier League, meaning he is the first ever footballer to have scored 100 goals in England’s and Spain’s top flight – he has already done such a thing in La Liga.
Maguire Dropped After Threats
While Ronaldo returned to the squad following some tough moments, Harry Maguire had to remain out of the team due to bomb threats he and his family have received in days before the match. There were terrible threats made against the centre-back that he must leave the club in 72 hours or face the concequences and it was expected for Rangnick to ommit his name from the matchday squad. In his absence, things did not improve one bit, with Lindelof, Telles and Varane all struggling at various stages of the match.
Bruno Fails From The Spot
In this loss, another important factor was Bruno Fernandes’ missed penalty. Just 12 minutes into the second half, he had the chance to make it 2-2 from the spot, after Nemanja Matic was fouled, but he ended hitting the post despite sending Aaron Ramsdale the other way. Some questioned why Ronaldo did not take this penalty, but as he did not feel in the best mood, Fernandes was expected to score. In the end, he failed to convert a penalty for the second time this season, meaning he now has 21 goals from 24 penalties taken since joining the club in early 2020. And that is still a really good scoring rate.
Europa League Is Reality
After this loss, Man United remain in sixth place with six points less than Arsenal and four points less than Tottenham, with both sides having a game in hand as well. Man United are not only far from the Champions League spot in terms of points, but especially in terms of their performances this season. With just 15 wins from 34 matches, they should not have been in contention for Champions League qualification for so long. Europa League is their reality, but even there they must remain cautious – West Ham are just two points behind…