Man Utd have two players nowhere near good enough and other lessons from Arsenal defeat

In pictures: Arsenal v Man Utd

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Manchester United saw their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League all but ended after a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday. The Red Devils have gone into the game on a low after their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in midweek. And things worsened for Ralf Rangnick’s team at the Emirates Stadium in north London.

United travelled to Arsenal looking to boost their chances of playing in the Champions League next season.

But that didn’t happen, with Rangnick’s side slipping to yet another defeat.

Arsenal took the lead inside three minutes through Nuno Tavares, with the full-back netting after David De Gea had parried Bukayo Saka’s strike.

Saka then doubled the Gunners’ lead from the penalty spot, with the spot-kick awarded following a foul from Alex Telles.

And while Cristiano Ronaldo was able to score, just days after the heartbreaking loss of his newborn son, it wasn’t enough for United to claim anything from the contest with Granit Xhaka scoring late on.

Express Sport will now take a look at four things we learned from the showdown in the capital.

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Saka has bounced back

Back in the summer, Saka missed a penalty in the shootout as England lost the Euro 2020 final to Italy.

But after back to back spot-kicks, it’s clear the Arsenal star has bounced back.

Whether the Gunners should have been awarded a penalty in the first half is debatable, with Alex Telles deemed to have committed a foul.

Yet Saka deserves immense credit for keeping his cool from 12 yards.

He, out of all the young players on Arsenal’s books, is the north London giants’ biggest hope for the future.


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United’s full-backs aren’t good enough

Against Liverpool in midweek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot both experienced chastening afternoons.

And, against Arsenal this time around, it was a similar story for Dalot and Telles.

Both players were devoid of ideas in attack, even if the former struck the bar with a splendid strike from distance.

And Telles looked scared of Saka and Arsenal’s rampaging players almost from minute one.

This United team needs a rebuild and reinforcements across the entire backline are needed as they plan for a brighter future with Erik ten Hag at the helm.

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Ronaldo has unparalleled character

Just days ago, Ronaldo heartbreakingly announced that his newborn son had died in childbirth.

That meant he was missing on Tuesday night as United were blown away by Jurgen Klopp’s rampant Liverpool side at Anfield.

But Ronaldo, being the unparalleled character he is, decided he was able to play against the Gunners.

The Portugal international showed his class by scoring for United, pulling them back into contention after Arsenal’s early double.

It means he’s now netted 22 goals across all competitions, a good return for a player clearly approaching the twilight years of his career.

Martin Odegaard continues to shine

Plenty has gone right at Arsenal this season, regardless of whether or not they secure Champions League football.

But Martin Odegaard is one of the biggest positives of their season.

Back in the summer, the Gunners decided to sign the Norway international from Real Madrid after he’d impressed on loan last term.

And that money looks to be money well spent.

Odegaard was a constant threat for Arsenal against United and has become an undroppable asset for Mikel Arteta in the middle of the park.

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