The dark clouds have been gathering over Manchester United for as long as anybody can remember.

Erik ten Hag is the ray of sunshine on the Old Trafford horizon, but there’s still a few months to go before the Dutchman gets stuck into a United squad that Ralf Rangnick diagnosed as requiring an ‘open heart operation’ before Saturday’s game with Arsenal.

You’d have thought, in all probability, those words would have some kind of affect on United’s players.

This, after all, is their interim manager digging them out for needing serious surgery because they have been calamitous in basically every area of the field (poor David de Gea excluded) for weeks, even months upon end.

Instead, after just a couple of minutes at the Emirates Stadium, United gifted Arsenal – the side they are competing for a Champions League qualification place with – an early lead.

Terrible, terrible defending from Raphael Varane and Alex Telles – the kind you wouldn’t expect to see at any level of professional football, let alone the Premier League – gifting Nuno Tavares a simple tap-in from close range…

The doziness of the defending also affected a sleeping Diogo Dalot, too – the Portuguese deciding to have a nap at the far post rather than anticipating the ball potentially coming his way…

Dalot’s first 25 minutes were eventful to say the least. He then hit the crossbar at the other end, as Arsenal attempted to let United back into the game, before more sleeping played Eddie Nketiah onside – De Gea coming to the rescue with a good save.

But rather than allow Dalot to steal all the glory, opposite full-back Telles was determined to make his own mark on the game – again for all the wrong reasons.

Okay, it was a soft (that’s being exceptionally polite) penalty award given against the Brazilian, but still it didn’t absolve him of responsibility on Twitter…

Saka stepped up to take the spot-kick, having been brushed to the ground, and he sent De Gea the wrong way to make it 2-0 Arsenal.

Game over? Well, not in the mind of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Back in the side after missing the clash with Liverpool on Tuesday because of the tragic loss of his baby son, the 37-year-old joined the Premier League’s 100 club after sweeping in Nemanja Matic’s cross to the back post, evading Gabriel Magalhaes in the process with some slick movement.

2-1 at half-time, but the big talking point wasn’t actually the award of Arsenal’s penalty, nor was is United’s defending or Ronaldo’s goal.

It was why did referee Craig Pawson, or the VAR for that matter, not award a penalty against Cedric Soares for what appeared to be a pretty blatant handball?

Outmuscled by Jadon Sancho, it just appeared that he scooped the ball away after being seen off by the England winger. The officials disagreed…

It seems somebody might’ve had a word at half-time – as Nuno Tavares then decided to play handball roulette himself ten minutes into the second half and didn’t get away with it…

Bruno Fernandes, not Ronaldo, stepped up to beat Aaron Ramsdale from the spot, tasked with bringing the game level at 2-2.

The outcome? Not as he planned…

Surely the end of the drama?


After 70 minutes of blockbuster action, things finally calmed down in north London…the fight and spirit seemingly knocked out of Rangnick’s United by that stunning third goal from Xhaka.

Probably a good job too; this was most definitely the oddest game of the Premier League season so far…

By admin