Manchester United toppled Arsenal with a 3-2 victory at Old Trafford in Michael Carrick 's final game as interim boss.
With Ralf Rangnick watching on from the Old Trafford terraces, United undoubtedly did enough to show the former RB Leipzig boss there is plenty to work with.
Things started in pretty dismal fashion, Arsenal somehow managing to secure three corners inside the opening 90 seconds of the game.
Gunners pressure eventually told in the strangest of circumstances, Emile Smith Rowe ’s left-footed volley finding the back of the net past an injured David de Gea.
Replays showed the Spaniard had actually been stood on by his own teammate in Fred, referee Martin Atkinson not blowing his whistle until the ball had already gone beyond the line.
The air of injustice around Old Trafford seemingly awoke United from their slumber, immediately taking the game by the scruff of the neck.
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Bruno Fernandes found the net after a 15-game goal drought, levelling things up just before the interval.
Cristiano Ronaldo turned the tie on its head just six minutes into the second half with his fifth Premier League goal of the season.
Martin Odegaard equalised just two minutes later, but the Norwegian quickly turned from hero to villain after conceding a penalty and presenting Ronaldo with the chance to notch a brace.
Arsenal take the lead in bizarre fashion
Arsenal’s opener will undeniably go down as the most peculiar goal you will see given in the Premier League all season.
Stemming from yet another Arsenal corner, United shot-stopper De Gea had his ankle trodden on by fellow United player Fred.
The Spaniard fell to the ground in a heap, but the stricken ‘keeper evaded the eyesight of referee Martin Atkinson, who allowed play to continue.
As a result, Emile Smith Rowe lashed the ball home from the edge of the box on his weaker left foot, the ball bouncing beyond the stationary De Gea and into the back of the net as United’s number one nursed his injury.
After a three-and-a-half-minute wait and VAR review that determined Atkinson had not blown his whistle in enough to stop play, Arsenal eventually took the lead – provoking a furious response from everyone of a United persuasion inside the ground.
Ronaldo reaches 800
The iconic five-time Ballon d’Or winner had to wait significantly longer than he would have liked to hit the 800-goal mark having been stuck on 798 for a month.
However, he finally reached the frankly astounding figure just a few minutes into the second half after a lovely United move.
Ronaldo’s fellow countryman Diogo Dalot played a fantastic pass into the path of Marcus Rashford, who fizzed the ball across the Arsenal penalty area with the kind of power that may have beaten a lesser forward.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, it fell to the feet of the most lethal marksmen football has seen – United's legendary number seven making no mistake.
Shortly after, after Odegaard had briefly levelled for the visitors, Ronaldo made it 801 from the penalty spot, lashing his effort straight down the middle from 12 yards.
Bruno reaches a century
Tonight’s contest marked a personal milestone for United’s midfield talisman Bruno Fernandes, the Portugal international enjoying his 100th competitive appearance for the club since his arrival from Sporting in January 2020.
In that time, he has been directly involved in more goals in all competitions than any other player for Premier League clubs with a record that reads 79 goal contributions split between 45 goals and 34 assists.
After a particularly dismal recent run of form, Fernandes showed signs of being back to his best with a number of deft touches mixed with a battling display the likes of which most often seen by a hardened defensive midfielder.
The 27-year-old ensured Smith Rowe’s controversial opener would not decide this tie, having cancelled out Arsenal’s first with a calmly dispatched close-range finish.
Partey fails to recreate Old Trafford heroics
Ask any Arsenal fan where Thomas Partey ’s best performance in a Gunners shirt has come and every single one will tell you at Old Trafford.
Putting in a shift that drew comparisons to Patrick Vieira last season away at United, Partey was way off the pace in Manchester this year.
The Ghanian was stunning at the Theatre of Dreams last term, but his form seemed to abandon him this time around – guilty of a number of lacklustre and lazy passing from the first minute.
Often so good at beating the opposition press, Partey’s touch let him down on more than one occasion and even presented Ronaldo with one of the game’s first chances after Fred had capitalised on Partey’s error.
It came at the detriment to both Arsenal’s attack and defence, as well as placing unnecessary pressure on his back-four he also spurned a decent chance to spray the ball out wide to the lively Martinelli.
At a stage in the game where the Gunners needed to keep possession the most, their £45m-man left a lot to be desired.
New balls please
Remarkably, in a Premier League game between two of the most successful clubs in English football in the year 2021 – there was a ball shortage.
First noticed by viewers watching at home when the cameras picked up Alex Telles complaining over how flat the ball was before taking a corner, the left-back took the set-piece regardless.
The same ball then fell to the feet of United skipper Harry Maguire, who subsequently blamed his wayward effort on the ball’s alleged loss of pressure.
After the United players made their feelings clear on the matter, many would have assumed another ball would have been provided at the next interval.
Somehow, there were no other balls immediately to hand, sparking a frantic search as a member of the Red Devils coaching staff was then sent on a mission to find another match-ball.