Manchester United secured some early bragging rights over Premier League rivals Arsenal as Erik ten Hag’s side secured a 2-0 pre-season win over the Gunners in New Jersey.
New Man Utd captain Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring in the 30th minute with a long-range effort, which Aaron Ramsdale could have done better with after getting a strong hand to the ball.
United’s lead was doubled not long after as Jadon Sancho (37) capitalised on Gabriel Magalhaes’ missed clearance before superbly finishing past Ramsdale as Ten Hag’s side went on to pick up a third straight pre-season win.
Arsenal’s best chance of the second half fell to Kai Havertz, who was picked out by Martin Odegaard’s cross, but the former Chelsea forward’s header looped over the crossbar as the Gunners – who fielded new signings Havertz, Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber from the start – failed to make a breakthrough in what was a poor performance at MetLife Stadium.
There was further disappointment for Mikel Arteta’s side after the game as they also lost a penalty shootout, with United converting all five of their spot kicks, while Fabio Vieira blazed the ball high over the crossbar to end a difficult night for north London side.
United look sharp but work to do for Arsenal
The game burst into life early as Antony’s miscued strike drifted wide of the far post before Gabriel Martinelli was twice denied by United goalkeeper Tom Heaton after being picked out by Bukayo Saka’s cross at the far post.
Arsenal looked to control possession and dominate the game, but they were punished by Ten Hag’s side as individual errors saw United take a first-half lead.
- Arsenal’s starting XI: Ramsdale, Timber, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu, Rice, Odegaard, Havertz, Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.
- Man Utd’s starting XI: Heaton, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Mainoo, Mount, Fernandes, Antony, Sancho, Garnacho.
Ramsdale got a hand to Fernandes’ low left-footed drive but he could not keep the ball out of the back of the net as United took the lead.
The advantage was doubled seven minutes later as Sancho pounced on Gabriel’s missed attempted clearance. The England international raced away from the Brazilian defender before firing into the roof of the net with an emphatic finish.
United, who changed all 10 outfield players at the interval, still looked much sharper than the Gunners after the break as they continued to take a physical approach to the game, much to the dismay of Arteta and his side.
Lisandro Martinez’s late challenge on Bukayo Saka towards the end of the first half angered the Gunners, while substitute Harry Maguire was also booked for a late barge into the back of Odegaard.
Man Utd made 10 changes at half time | Arsenal’s second half changes
Man Utd XI for the second half: Heaton, Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams, Casemiro, McTominay, Eriksen, Diallo, Rashford, Forson.
Arsenal’s second half subs: Tierney (45), Partey (58), Jesus (58), White (59), Trossard (71, Jorginho (71), Smith Rowe (71), Vieira (72).
Arsenal went closest to an equaliser when Eddie Nketiah fired wide of the far post and Havertz looped a header over the crossbar, but United also had chances to extend their lead.
With the goal at his mercy, Marcus Rashford failed to make a clean connection at the far post with Diogo Dalot’s attempted shot, firing wide from inside the six-yard box.
Facundo Pellistri also blazed a shot high over the crossbar after pouncing on another defensive error from Arsenal, this time from Kieran Tierney, late in the game, but it was still another good workout for United as their preparations for the news season continued with another victory.
Ten Hag: This is the way we want to play
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag: “I think it’s very good. The way we played, I was really pleased, how active we were in and out of possession. That is the way we want to play and that is the only period of the year you can really work in training and translate it to games without it having consequences.
“But still, we want to win, and I think the lads showed we played a good game.
“Of course, they are all great games [in this series]. We have to go and it helps us to progress and especially those opponents, they are good. Arsenal is a really good opponent. They played incredibly good last season in the Premier League, so yeah, that’s good to match with them, then you will be better.”
Arteta: This season is going to be more challenging
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: “Yes (this is a good lesson for us). You asked me yesterday about my thoughts on how difficult or easy the season is going to be. It’s going to be more challenging, more difficult, the level and preparation
of the team is excellent and we knew today, they had already played two games before this one and we knew the test was going to be really demanding, like it’s going to be on Wednesday against [Barcelona] one of the best teams in the world.
“I don’t like losing and I don’t like the feeling that I have right now. So, the boys have to train right now, in that space thinking how we are going to be better to win the next match.”
Man Utd will look to make it four wins from four in pre-season when they take on Wrexham on Wednesday morning (July 26); kick-off 3.30am.
Meanwhile, Arsenal will look to get back to winning ways when they face Barcelona at Sofi Stadium on Thursday morning (July 27) as they conclude their US tour; kick-off 3.30am.
Arsenal confident Barca clash will go ahead
Arsenal are in close contact with Barcelona and have full confidence that the match on Thursday July 27 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles will go ahead as scheduled. Tickets are still on sale.
The La Liga giants called off their Soccer Champions Tour clash with Juventus due to an outbreak of viral gastroenteritis in their squad.
Arsenal’s pre-season fixtures and results
Man Utd’s pre-season fixtures and results
- July 12: Man Utd 2-0 Leeds
- July 19: Man Utd 1-0 Lyon
- July 22: Man Utd 2-0 Arsenal
- July 26: Man Utd vs Wrexham, kick-off 3.30am (Snapdragon Stadium, USA)
- July 27: Real Madrid vs Man Utd, kick-off 3.30am (NRG Stadium, USA)
- July 31: Man Utd vs Dortmund, kick-off 2am (Allegiant Stadium, USA)
- August 5: Man Utd vs Lens, kick-off 12.45pm (Old Trafford)
- August 6: Man Utd vs Athletic Bilbao, kick-off 4pm (Aviva Stadium)
Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports
Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?
Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.
Watch the Premier League summer series on Sky
The first-ever Premier League Summer Series in the USA featuring Chelsea, Newcastle, Brighton, Fulham, Brentford and Aston Villa will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
Five east coast states will host the nine-game friendly tournament from July 23 to 30 in preparation for the new Premier League season.
Each team will play three matches and will not face the same opposition more than once.
Matches will take place at five venues down the east coast: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia; Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta; Exploria Stadium, Orlando; Red Bull Arena, New Jersey; FedExField, Landover, Maryland.