Ratings: Fernandes and Telles need to sit on the bench; Ronaldo hits 100 Premier League goals

Now that the season has little to gain for United, youth should be blood into the squad to salvage something

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Arsenal at the Emirates in the Premier League. Nuno Tavares and Bukayo Saka put Arsenal 2-0 up before Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th Premier League goal. Bruno Fernandes missed a penalty before Granit Xhaka completed the rout.

It was another awkward start for United, this time conceding the opening goal inside three minutes, which took four against Liverpool. Bukayo Saka had his attempt saved but Nuno Tavares managed to cause some problems scoring the opening goal.

In the sixth minute of the match Anthony Elanga tried to respond but saw his effort saved by Aaron Ramsdale. Scott McTominay then saw his effort not gain anything as United looked to come from behind. A minute later Alex Telles tried to play a through ball but Cristiano Ronaldo was offside.

United had started to show urgency and in the 11th minute Bruno Fernandes had a shot blocked with McTominay doing the work to provide the Portuguese midfielder with the chance. United then won a corner in the same minute as Gabriel Magalhães played it off the pitch.

From the corner, McTominay missed his effort after Fernandes received the ball and crossed it into him. United needed to find a surefire way of scoring in this match. Four minutes later, Elanga saw another attempt missed – all these chances and nothing to show for them.

In the 19th minute, Martin Ødegaard saw his effort miss with the home side looking to double their lead. Ronaldo missed one a minute later as United sought to equalise. Diogo Dalot his the crossbar in the 24th minute with Eddie Nketiah having his effort saved a minute later.

Arsenal then found the back of the net to stretch their lead to 2-0 but VAR ruled out the goal for offside before a penalty was awarded against Alex Telles, which Bukayo Saka took and scored causing United a big problem in this match.

Telles was shown a yellow card for giving away the penalty. United got straight on it getting a goal back with Ronaldo scoring his 100th Premier League goal to get United back into the game in the 34th minute of the match. The oldest player on the pitch showing them how to do it again.

Ronaldo then has an attempt blocked three minutes later as he looked to equalise for United. Arsenal then had chances for Mohamed Elneny, who had his saved, Saka having two chances, both were blocked and Gabriel, who missed his attempt.

In the second minute of added time Telles had a shot saved as United looked to try and equalise before half time. Fernandes then had a shot blocked in the third minute of added time before Tavares and Ødegaard had attempts missed and saved.

There were no substitution for either team at the start of the second half. United would need a big performance to get something from this match, seeming so far behind from the first half alone. Tavares missed an attempt in the 51st minute and Saka had the same in the same minute.

Tavares conceded a penalty in the 55th minute of the match, which was a strange one considering nothing was given for the same in the first half. Fernandes stepped up to take the penalty, with a stuttered run and ended up hitting the post. Serves his right for trying to be cutting edge.

Elanga forced a save in the 59th minute and Ronaldo, a minute later seemed to equalise for United but seemed to be offside. VAR eventually ruled the goal out for offside, which was a shame. It looks like Ronaldo was the man for United with so many other player happy to be carried by him.

In the 63rd minute, Dalot hit the post, added to his hitting the crossbar in the first half, it seemed like United were not having a great day in front of goal, considering the chances they have had. Grant Xhaka and Tavares were both booked a minute apart.

Granit Xhaka restores Arsenal’s two-goal cushion in the 70th minute as United were caught out and were seemingly out of the game once again. That missed penalty by Fernandes has cost United. Arsenal made their first substitution as Rob Holding replaced Saka in the 74th minute.

Fernandes was booked for a cynical foul in the 76th minute of the match, which could have been a red card. VAR did not upgrade it though – luckily for him. In the 77th minute, Rangnick made a double substitution with Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford replacing Nemanja Matić and Elanga.

Mohamed Elneny was booked in the 80th minute of the match with Victor Lindelof booked two minutes later. Rangnick made his final substitution in the 84th minute with Juan Mata replacing Fernandes, who looked even more frustrated than he had in recent months.

United have endured a terrible weak and it will only get worse as they face Chelsea on Thursday evening. The club has managed to ensure that no UEFA Champions League football will head to Old Trafford next season, unless some kind of miracle happens but that seems unlikely.

With Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and even West Ham United all playing better football at this stage of the season, United should aim for their lowest ever finish in the Premier League to avoid any European football next season, which might be the best case scenario.

However, the Glazers will not like the loss of money if that happened so there will probably be a target to reach the UEFA Europa League and not the UEFA Europa Conference League. If they reach either, the youth should play that competition. Ronaldo was booked in added time for United.

It was a 3-1 defeat for United at the Emirates and that would surely mean that there was nothing to take from this season so it is time to replacing players not performing for talented youth and salvaging something for the future, not trying to get players who have given up to perform.

Player Ratings

David De Gea: Initially he seemed like he was up for the challenge but conceded in the first three minutes of the match. He was let down by those in front of him again. Made a few good saves by Saka (penalty) and Xhaka got the better of him. ★★★★★★

Diogo Dalot: Hit both the crossbar and the post in either half as he looked to show some fight in this United team. Defensively, he needs to buck up his ideas if he wants to remain at United because it seems there was not much impetus to defend. Attacking he was better. ★★★★★

Victor Lindelöf: Seemingly the best of this back four but the standards are low these days. Seemed to be alert at times, especially as United looked to fight back which soon stopped after Fernandes’ penalty. I’m not sure Ten Hag will have been impressed by this. ★★★★★

Raphaël Varane: Spent three weeks on the sidelines, so was going to be rusty. His failed clearance was a problem for United. It led to Tavares’ goal. After he’s has a few matches back, he should pick up some form, hopefully. ★★★★

Alex Telles: He was partly responsible for the first goal and his was his error for the second, giving away a penalty and getting booked. Had a shot on goal and put his head down in the second half. He is only ever going to be a squad player, if that next season. ★★★

Nemanja Matić: He provided a great cross into Ronaldo for the Portuguese forward to score his 100th Premier League goal. He did not really provide much threat for the Arsenal midfield, who were so much better than United. Replaced by Lingard. ★★★★★

Scott McTominay: Had a good chance to get a goal and it seemed to be wasted. It is good to see him back but United are missing out with poor midfield players at this stage of the season. There is going to need to be a big rebuild to solve something. ★★★★★

Anthony Elanga: Had a one-on-one chance and hit the ball tamely with Ramsdale making the save. With Tavares against him, he should have done so much better but Tavares seemed to be a world beater. Next season he will need to be hungry to perform. ★★★★★

Bruno Fernandes: Once again he does not seem able to do it on the pitch for United. Granted, he puts in some effort and workmate but for a flair player, he’s just not cutting the mustard. Took the penalty, which could have seen United equalise, hitting the post. Terrible. ★★

Jadon Sancho: Should have created more chances than he did. Arsenal were there for the taking at one stage of the match but they turned that around and United were there for the taking. He really needs to start finding his feet and performing to the high standards expected. ★★★★★

Cristiano Ronaldo: Scored his 100th Premier League goal from 2-0 down in the 34th minute of the match. After what he’s been through this week, he deserved that. Should have taken the penalty that Fernandes missed. 37 years old and showing most players how to perform. ★★★★★★★★


Jesse Lingard: Replaced Matić 77′. Got some involvement in the match but did not help his side get the better of United. Against Norwich a week ago he seemed to have some fire in his belly – but that seems to be gone now. His career at United should be over. ★★★

Marcus Rashford: Replaced Elanga 77′. There was no impact from Rashford and that is worrying for both his attitude and his form. Would United want to keep a player that is not performing, especially when a new contract is desired by the player. ★★★

Juan Mata: Replaced Fernandes 84′. Came on late in the game and in terms of impact, there was not much. He might want to see playing but I don’t see him staying at United next season. In terms of minutes played and performances, he’s not offered much. ★★★★

Goals: Nuno Tavares 3′, Bukayo Saka 32′, Granit Xhaka 70′; Cristiano Ronaldo 34′

Assists: Mohamed Elneny 70′; Nemanja Matić 34′

Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelöf, Varane, Telles; Matić (Lingard 77′), McTominay; Elanga (Rashford 77′), Fernandes (Mata 84′), Sancho; Ronaldo

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Jones, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka; Garnacho

Bookings: Granit Xhaka 67′, Nuno Tavares 68′, Mohamed Elneny 80′; Alex Telles 31′, Bruno Fernandes 76′, Victor Lindelof 82′, Cristiano Ronaldo 90+2′

Written by John Walker

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About editor 2195 Articles
I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.