A banner was raised long before kick-off at Stretford End bearing the faces of Eric Cantona, Roy Keane and Brian Robson reading “Standards”. Cristiano Ronaldo raised them.
Ronaldo deserves to be placed in brackets with Cantona, Kane and Robson, United captains in the 1990s. Many within Old Trafford will agree whether the Portuguese have inherited the captaincy under the new administration. Lead by example.
Ralph Rangnick stared softly as Bruno Fernandez caught the equalizer. He got his hands together to achieve Ronaldo’s two goals. The 36-year-old’s aura shone so brightly under the floodlights, emerging No7 Jadon Sancho executed Ronaldo’s celebration in sync.
David Beckham, the predecessor of seventh-placed Ronaldo, watched with admiration. Rangnick will undoubtedly answer questions about Ronaldo in the Old Trafford press conference room on Friday morning, however there can be no discussion of Ronaldo’s role. He has scored in all four of United’s Premier League wins since returning last August and has won three of them. Ronaldo, for the first time in what seemed to be an eternity, ensured that United’s players walked off the pitch to the tune of “Glory Glory, Man United”.
Patrice Evra was in the studio while Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher stood side by side in the dugout in another throwback to United’s previous dominance of Arsenal. It was United’s first league victory over their old opponent since the departure of Arsene Wenger in 2018 and brought the curtain down on Carrick’s caretaker tenure. He disappeared into the tunnel the entire time, to the thunderous applause and the sound of his chant. Touchingly, it marked the end of Carrick’s 15-and-a-half-year career with United.
Rangnick’s low appearance and coinciding with another Stretford End banner praising the manager were the many fans who booed less than two weeks ago. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s name has been chanted loudly, frequently, and deservedly throughout. Carrick confirmed on his one-man show that Solskjaer’s notes were confirmed despite the horrific past two months.
Rangnick stuck to a team sheet and sat next to football director John Murtaugh, avoiding the shinning section of the directors’ box where Beckham and his eldest son, Romeo, sat. Often buried in his lap, Rangnick’s head was taking lengthy notes amid United’s alarmingly familiar first-half performance. When Anthony Martial replaced Ronaldo, he seemed to be consulting his team’s paper.
On one night the surfer’s flag was hoisted across Stretford End in celebration of Solskjaer, aspects of United’s performance still suggest he was in charge. The same old problems resurfaced in the first 30 minutes: a strict 4-2-3-1 formation, the attacking quadruple play a different tone in the seven defense, struggling against high pressure while unable to press high themselves.
Only Arsenal were complacent and when United made some scouting passes together, Bruno Fernandes calmly equalized in United’s best playing piece in months. Fred took a more advanced role under Carrick and his presence in the area enabled him to fire the ball to Fernandes.
Fred participated, through thick and thin, in two goals for United and two goals for Arsenal. Rangnick is expected to unravel a player that Solskjaer and Carrick highly value and is expected to be a key player for Brazil at next year’s World Cup.
Fletcher constantly flattered the players and Carrick applauded as a cheerleader. They were powerless at first to impress the anxious crowd still haunted by the humility caused by City and Liverpool in their final campaigns on the Warwick Road. Fred was in danger of being scapegoated again and Marcus Rashford couldn’t hide his indignation.
But the fans held on and continued to score Ronaldo’s goals with the ‘siiiu’ shout that Arsenal fans mocked before they were even dealt with. Ronaldo scored his first goals against Arsenal in nearly 17 years at the 19-year-old Highbury and scored four goals against Arsenal in the previous two seasons with United.
As the victory approached, the noise was so deafening that United goalkeeper coach Richard Hartis had to land on the touchline and inform Jesse Lingard that he was about to come. The seasonal delight is amplified by the introduction of five cantonas. United carelessly conceded within two minutes of Ronaldo making it 2-1 and Carrick and Fletcher, a partnership that had guided Arsenal into matches from last year, were once again heading onto the pitch.
United have shipped all kinds of goals from set-piece positions and the most recent one deserves what happened next? employment Math question . With David de Gea hit by a unique tread, Emile Smith Rowe sent the ball into the unguarded net, and most importantly, referee Martin Atkinson delayed his whistle until the ball passed between the crossbars.
De Gea undermined the severity of his injury by running toward Atkinson as soon as he signaled that the opening goal had been awarded. The wait for confirmation was unnecessarily excessive. Atkinson has a history of fouls against United, most recently the inexplicable failure to award them a penalty at West Ham in September.
On this occasion, Martin Odegaard’s collision with Fred was patent so the video assistant referee stopped the match and summoned Atkinson to the stadium screen. Ronaldo racked up his first penalty kick for United since Fernandes put spectators at risk against Aston Villa in September.
Transform and then race with those fans who have immortalized Cantona, Kane and Robson.