Manchester United and Arsenal offered Sunday afternoon treats over the weekend. A throwback to the good old days; high pace, high quality, controversial.
United won 3-1 in the end, and the scoreline was only halfway through a magnificent story at Old Trafford.
Flashpoints included Martin Odegaard’s foul on Christian Eriksen which led to a VAR review nullifying a potential Arsenal opener and an ugly challenge from Zambi Lokonga which left Bruno Fernandes in the dark. These have been discussed at length – conclusions depend on which side of the fence you are sitting on.
One incident that didn’t get much attention, however, was Gabriel Jesus’ apparent kick of Lisandro Martinez.
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Footage from Eagle Eye showed the Arenal striker kicking the back of Martinez’s leg into the combined penalty area late in the first half.
Jesus provided the United centre-back with a real test throughout the afternoon, but he can count himself lucky that VAR didn’t detect any wayward slip-ups during the game.
Martinez’s aggressive style will no doubt attract the attention of Premier League forwards, who have at times found the Argentinean’s ‘eclectic’ approach too far.
The Arsenal players displayed palpable frustration for much of the match, believing they were wrong in their refereeing decisions, despite the aforementioned incident being given a reprieve and Bukayo Saka’s last-minute penalty against Tyrell Malacia. A bad tackle also went unpunished.
Perhaps the frustration is best placed there, as despite holding the ball for 20 minutes at half-time, Mikel Arteta’s men left Manchester with nothing due to the cruelty of ten Hag United’s new look.
Ten Haag will be delighted with how his new signings are going, especially Martinez, whose infectious attitude and commitment are setting the tone for a turnaround at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have won their fourth consecutive league game, closing the gap to league leaders Arsenal to three points.
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