Man Utd 3-2 Arsenal: Cristiano Ronaldo passes 800 goals in win tinged with controversyon December 2, 2021 at 10:36 pm

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Cristiano Ronaldo makes it 801 career goals as Manchester United beat Arsenal in a brilliant see-saw game that has controversy and crucial VAR decisions.

Arsenal score at Old Trafford with Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea down injured

As new United interim boss Ralf Rangnick watched from the directors’ box, where former England captain David Beckham also enjoyed a thrilling encounter, Arsenal scored first in controversial circumstances.

Emile Smith Rowe drove home from the edge of the area, while United keeper David de Gea was lying on the ground, seemingly injured, with his back to play.

The inevitable VAR check concluded De Gea had fallen after bumping into and being trodden on by his own team-mate Fred, and referee Martin Atkinson gave the goal.

Bruno Fernandes levelled, when he finished off an intricate move involving Jadon Sancho and Fred a minute before the break, setting up the pulsating second half that followed.

Ronaldo put United ahead as he swept home Marcus Rashford’s cross, but Martin Odegaard made it 2-2 with a well-taken equaliser.

Then came the second big VAR decision, as Atkinson gave United a penalty after reviewing Odegaard’s challenge on Fred on a pitchside monitor – and Ronaldo kept his nerve to score.

Watching proceedings unfold, Rangnick was largely impassive and made plenty of notes, although he did stand to applaud Ronaldo’s winner.

The result leaves United three points off fourth-placed Arsenal after recording two wins and a draw under Michael Carrick, the interim’s interim.

A controversial start to the scoring

There is an festering history between these teams, from the on-pitch brawl that led to both teams having points deducted in 1990, through the controversy in which Arsenal players jumped at Ruud van Nistelrooy after he missed a last-minute penalty in 2003, to the infamous ‘pizzagate’ incident, which led to Sir Alex Ferguson conducting his post-match interviews in a change of clothes after being hit by food thrown from the visitors’ dressing room in 2004.

Now there is another infamous moment to add to the list.

In law, Atkinson had no choice but to award Arsenal’s opening goal, having waited to blow his whistle until Smith Rowe’s shot hit the net.

United’s players clearly felt the situation, with De Gea on the floor with his back to play, warranted a stoppage.

They surrounded Atkinson in their immediate protests and at half-time, De Gea continued, with technical director Darren Fletcher, currently assisting on the coaching side, pitching in as the official reached the mouth of the tunnel.

Amid all the furore, Arsenal were probably unhappy not to be ahead at that stage – having lost their lead just before half-time after controlling a large part of the game. By the end, they must have wondered how they ended up with nothing.

De Gea saved superbly twice from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and also denied substitute Bukayo Saka, who also had a goalbound effort deflected wide.

More to follow.

Manchester United

  1. Squad number7Player nameCristiano Ronaldo
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  2. Squad number18Player nameBruno Fernandes
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  3. Squad number25Player nameSancho
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  4. Squad number14Player nameLingard
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  5. Squad number34Player namevan de Beek
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  6. Squad number1Player namede Gea
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  7. Squad number20Player nameDiogo Dalot
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  8. Squad number27Player nameAlex Telles
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  9. Squad number39Player nameMcTominay
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  10. Squad number17Player nameFred
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  11. Squad number2Player nameLindelöf
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  12. Squad number10Player nameRashford
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  13. Squad number9Player nameMartial
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  14. Squad number5Player nameMaguire
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  1. Squad number10Player nameSmith Rowe
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  2. Squad number32Player nameRamsdale
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  3. Squad number35Player nameGabriel Martinelli
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  4. Squad number18Player nameTomiyasu
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  5. Squad number8Player nameØdegaard
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  6. Squad number4Player nameWhite
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  7. Squad number6Player nameGabriel Magalhães
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  8. Squad number20Player nameNuno Tavares
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  9. Squad number25Player nameMohamed Elneny
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  10. Squad number5Player namePartey
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  11. Squad number14Player nameAubameyang
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  12. Squad number7Player nameSaka
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  13. Squad number9Player nameLacazette
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  14. Squad number30Player nameNketiah
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Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 20Dalot
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 5Maguire
  • 27Telles
  • 39McTominayBooked at 45mins
  • 17Fred
  • 10RashfordSubstituted forLingardat 79’minutes
  • 18Bruno FernandesSubstituted forvan de Beekat 90’minutes
  • 25Sancho
  • 7Cristiano RonaldoSubstituted forMartialat 88’minutes


  • 3Bailly
  • 4Jones
  • 8Mata
  • 9Martial
  • 11Greenwood
  • 14Lingard
  • 16Diallo
  • 26Henderson
  • 34van de Beek


Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 32Ramsdale
  • 18Tomiyasu
  • 4White
  • 6Gabriel
  • 20Tavares
  • 35Martinelli
  • 5Partey
  • 25Elneny
  • 10Smith RoweSubstituted forSakaat 70’minutes
  • 8ØdegaardSubstituted forNketiahat 79’minutes
  • 14AubameyangSubstituted forLacazetteat 79’minutes


  • 3Tierney
  • 7Saka
  • 9Lacazette
  • 15Maitland-Niles
  • 16Holding
  • 19Pépé
  • 23Sambi Lokonga
  • 30Nketiah
  • 33Okonkwo
Martin Atkinson

Live Text

Post update

Match ends, Manchester United 3, Arsenal 2.

Full Time

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