Arsenal player ratings v Man Utd: Two 5s at the back even though Gunners seal victory

In pictures: Arsenal v Man Utd

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Arsenal kept their top-four hopes alive at Manchester United’s expense after battling to a 3-1 win over their old rivals at the Emirates Stadium. The result nudges the Londoners back into the final Champions League spot with just a handful of games remaining, while United’s season is all but over after another sorry defeat.

It took just two minutes for the Gunners to break the deadlock through Nuno Tavares. Some rotten defending left Bukayo Saka with the chance to fire a strike at David de Gea from close-range, with Tavares on hand to pick up the pieces. Saka doubled Arsenal’s lead from the penalty spot after an infringement was spotted during a VAR check on the half hour mark – only for Cristiano Ronaldo to halve the deficit two minutes later. Bruno Fernandes missed from the penalty spot early in the second half after a careless handball from Tavares. Granit Xhaka made the points safe with a thunderbolt in the 70th minute, as Express Sport runs the rule over the Londoners after a pivotal victory…

Aaron Ramsdale – 6

The Gunners shot-stopper has been one of this season’s major success stories for Arsenal, but he endured a difficult afternoon against United. Ramsdale looked nervy throughout the crunch clash and caught the eye for all the wrong reasons. A string of poor passes in the first half set the tone for his afternoon. Could do little about Ronaldo’s goal but made a huge save to deny Diogo Dalot after the break to make amends for a nervy first half display.

Cedric – 5

Cedric was another of the Arsenal rearguard who struggled with the demands of such a demanding match. The Portuguese ace struggled to cope defensively with Jadon Sancho and failed to make an impact getting forward, with a number of poor crosses failing to beat the first man. The return of Takehiro Tomiyasu – who was fit enough for the bench – can’t come quickly enough for Arsenal.

Ben White – 6

Quiet and composed performance from Arsenal’s £50million man. Was aggressive in his pursuit of the ball, often driving into United’s half of the pitch. Made a couple of vital touches to prevent United from building up momentum early in the second half.

Gabriel Magalhaes – 6

The Brazilian defender made a vital tackle to thwart Bruno Fernandes after not long after Tavares’ opener, bailing out Ramsdale after a sloppy pass. But the 24-year-old was badly caught out for United’s opening goal, where Ronaldo ghosted past him with ease to fire home his 100th Premier League strike.

Nuno Tavares – 5

The youngster grabbed a vital early goal, but his defensive shortcomings were on full display at the Emirates. The full-back was static alongside Gabriel as Ronaldo fired United back into the game and was caught out on more than one occasion by runs in behind. Gave away a sloppy penalty early in the second half that could have had major repercussions for Arsenal’s top-four hopes.

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Mohamed Elneny – 7

The Gunners forgotten midfield man was cool and composed on the ball and strong in the tackle to keep United at bay. Did his job in filling in for Thomas Partey but lacks the ball-carrying ability that the Ghanian enforcer possesses.

Granit Xhaka – 7

Arsenal’s Swiss destroyer had a quiet afternoon until he thundered home a stunning strike to seal the points for the Gunners. Performed reasonably well alongside Elneny and kept things ticking over in the middle for the hosts. Did his part to wrestle back control in the heart of the park after a frenetic start to the second half.

Bukayo Saka – 8

Unsurprisingly influential in the final third for the hosts. Was the fleet-footed winger’s initial shot which led to the opening goal to hand the Gunners the perfect start. The 20-year-old took full advantage of going up against Alex Telles and bamboozled United’s second-choice left-back throughout the afternoon. Showed ice-cool composure to double Arsenal’s lead from the spot.

Martin Odegaard – 8

If Thiago bossed United in midfield earlier this week for Liverpool, then Arsenal’s silky playmaker followed suit. The stand-in skipper was a cut above all afternoon with an endless repertoire of deft, classy touches. Engineered all of Arsenal’s best moments and is surely a shoe-in to take on the captain’s armband on a permanent basis next term.

Eddie Nketiah – 7

A reasonable follow-up from the Gunners academy graduate after he stole the show in midweek at Stamford Bridge. Wasn’t able to bag another goal but was involved in some slick interplay with the likes of Smith Rowe, Saka and Odegaard. Has come from nowhere to lead the line for Arsenal during the run-in, but already looks a far better bet than Alexandre Lacazette.


Gabriel Martinelli (on for Smith Rowe, 64 mins) – 6

Wasn’t involved much after replacing Smith Rowe. Could struggle to muscle his way back into the team now the Gunners are finding form.

Rob Holding (on for Saka 74) – N/A

Takehiro Tomiyasu (on for Cedric, 91) – N/A

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