Michael Carrick’s record as Manchester United’s caretaker manager reads: played three, won two, and drawn one with six goals scored and three conceded just as Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a brace-his 800th and 801st career goals- in a 3-2 home win over Arsenal on Thursday night at Old Trafford.
The match was played with Ralf Rangnick in attendance in the stands as Harry Maguire returned for United after suspension and he led the fightback from the concession of a bizarre goal. Fred stepped on David de Gea from a corner kick and with De Gea prone on the pitch, Emile Smith-Rowe scored from outside the box.
United players protested but the referee, Martin Atkinson, was advised by VAR to give the goal, which incensed United players.
Bruno Fernandes scored the equaliser on the cusp of halftime after a good passing move from the left flank. It was the Portuguese’s first goal in 16 matches.
The second half was a thrilling affair as the pendulum swung one way and the other. Nuno Tavares lost the ball to Diogo Dalot in the 51st minute and the defender found Marcus Rashford in space on the right. Rashford’s cutback found Ronaldo perfectly placed to slide home United’s second.
But United were ahead for all of two minutes as Gabriel Martinelli found Martin Odegaard with a cutback which the former Real Madrid man swept home.
But Odegaard was to become the villain of the piece as he fouled Fred in the box. Referee Atkinson waved play on but he was again advised to see the incident by VAR, from which he gave a penalty to United.
Ronaldo stepped forward and sent the ball down the middle with Aaron Ramsdale grasping at thin air.
It was Fred to the rescue once again in the 87th minute as he produced a black on Bukayo Saka’s goal-bound shot. United contained Arsenal to take all three points and jumped to seventh place with 21 points from 14 matches.
In the other match on Thursday, Tottenham beat Brentford 2-0 courtesy of an own goal by Sergi Canos in the 12th minute and Heung-Min Son sealed the victory with the second in the 65th minute. Spurs are up to sixth with 22 points and a game in hand.
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