Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus scored stoppage-time goals to take Arsenal to a famous 3-1 win over Manchester United on Sunday.
In a game packed with drama, United thought they’d won it themselves in the final minutes when Alejandro Garnacho broke free to score but a close VAR offside call denied him his moment.
Instead it was Arsenal’s £105m man who delivered the decisive goal, brilliantly controlling a corner with his chest at the back post before blasting a deflected shot past Andre Onana. His celebrations into the crowd were an iconic moment, adding another remarkable chapter to this Premier League rivalry.
Moments later Jesus sealed it, breaking away and then stepping inside Diogo Dalot to announce his goal-scoring comeback following an injury lay-off.
Earlier, Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard had come up with an instant response to Marcus Rashford’s breakaway goal, hitting the net 35 seconds after United had opened the scoring in the first half.
Arsenal thought they’d been handed a chance to go in front on the hour mark when Kai Havertz went down in the box and a penalty was awarded. But replays showed it was the German who instigated contact with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and it was overturned by a VAR check.
That capped a personal day to forget for Havertz, who made a hash of an early chance when the goal was at his mercy and then gave away the ball for United to break away for Rashford to score.
But his team-mates would create a comeback in the end – and what a comeback it was.
A thrilling finish to a match which leaves Arsenal with three wins from four and moves Mikel Arteta’s side up to fifth, just two points behind title rivals Manchester City.
As for Manchester United, they are down in 11th, six points behind their neighbours. It was a cruel finale for them but Erik ten Hag will spend the international break mulling over a six-point return from their opening batch of games which leaves them already playing catch up on the teams they want to challenge.
Every meeting between these fierce Premier League rivals is met with anticipation and the atmosphere reached fever pitch at kick-off. The opening exchanges were similarly electric. But composure was glaringly absent from Havertz when the goal opened up for him on 14 minutes. The German snatched at his shot when Gabriel Martinelli’s cross broke to him and barely made contact. It was a shocking miss.
Lisandro Martinez was sharp to block Eddie Nketiah’s follow-up and he got in the way of an Odegaard shot soon after. On nineteen minutes Rice headed over and it was Arsenal who were unquestionably on the front foot. But on this hot September day temperatures were rising too and a series of free-kicks and firm challenges stalled the home side’s advances.
Havertz then had his second moment to forget of the game. During a passage of Arsenal build-up he carelessly sent the ball straight to Christian Eriksen who launched a United counter which inevitably ended with Rashford stepping in from the left and arrowing a right-foot shot in off the far post. A trademark move and his third in a row against these opponents.
Moments later the game was level again, though. Martinelli had been a standout for Arsenal and his interplay with Nketiah and then Odegaard led to the captain sweeping in a swift equaliser.
The game ramped up to the half time whistle. Havertz made something of an amends by blocking an Eriksen shot. Rashford drove high and wide. Saka saw Martinez get in the way of another Arsenal attempt on the stroke of half time.
United came out with purpose in the second half and Rashford had his hands on his head when his follow-up to Anthony Martial’s saved shot was blocked by William Saliba.
But Havertz was back in the spotlight just before the hour mark.
On first watch it was a stonewall penalty. But replays soon confirmed it was a spot-kick which had been bought by the forward looking for contact with Wan-Bissaka. Boos rang out when it was overturned but it was the right decision in the end.
On 67 minutes Ten Hag turned to Hojlund – and also Harry Maguire to replace the injured Martinez. The new striker was jeered by the Arsenal fans; Maguire was cheered and had his name sung by the Arsenal supporters. A damning reflection of his reputation right now.
Martinelli whipped a shot just wide of the post soon after but Hojlund was busy at the other end and saw an attempted flicked finish from Rashford’s cutback blocked.
A big chance of the final stages fell to Saka, who could only prod an effort at Andre Onana from inside the box. It felt like that might have been Arsenal’s moment.
And it felt like it was a moment they’d regret when Garnacho broke free to finish brilliantly past Ramsdale – but an eventual offside call left the home fans celebrating instead. And they had every reason to moments later when Rice delivered the match-clinching moment at the back post.
The noise was off the scale. When Jesus wrapped it up soon after, leaving Dalot and United on the floor, there was delight three-quarters of the way around the Emirates.
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