In a crucial game for both sides, Arsenal came out on top of an action packed match in North London. Both sides made changes to their defence, and it showed, with neither side looking comfortable at the back early on. Arsenal took the lead after just a couple of minutes, Nuno Tavares finishing after De Gea couldn’t hold on to Bukayo Saka’s shot, but Rangnick’s team responded well.The first half was scrappy, with neither side really able to stamp their authority on the game. Cedric, in particular, had nervy moments, while Aaron Ramsdale and Gabriel also struggled slightly. Nevertheless, Arsenal doubled their lead. Saka was at the heart of it again, his 1-2 with Odegaard seeing Arsenal win a penalty while an Nketiah goal was disallowed.

As he did at Stamford Bridge, Saka took the spot kick. He went in the opposite direction to De Gea, and doubled Arsenal’s lead. It felt symbolic of his growing responsibility in the side. However, United soon halved their deficit. Ronaldo did well to get on the end of a Matic cross at the far post, finding room between Gabriel and Nuno Tavares.

The Portuguese left back experienced a chaotic game of both highs and lows and, when United continued to apply pressure in the second half, it was Tavares who gave away a penalty after Matic headed the ball against his raised arm.

Bruno Fernandes, who had a game to forget, waited to send Ramsdale the wrong way, but then passed the ball wide of the open half of the goal, grazing the post with it. The second half had been more subdued in comparison, but it erupted as the midfielder failed to convert the spot kick. United continued to search for an equaliser, but the final goal went Arsenal’s way.

Bruno Fernandes failed to control on the edge of his own area, allowing Elneny to feed the ball into Xhaka, who smashed the ball home from distance. Arsenal saw out the final twenty minutes without too many concerns, keeping the ball well and frustrating United. The return of Tomiyasu in the latter stages will have been a welcome sight.

Bukayo Saka went down injured with fifteen minutes left, and came off for Rob Holding. Gunners fans will be hoping that isn’t a significant problem. If this week is anything to go by, Saka will be key to Arsenal finishing in the top four. It still looks a real possibility for Arsenal. For Manchester United, a lot of things will have to go in their favour if they’re to be playing Champions League football next season.