Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 800th and 801st career goal for both club and country on a night where United were mediocre but showed moments of brilliance.
His second of the night came from the penalty spot as he put United 3-2 ahead and won Carrick his first league win as caretaker manager. Ronaldo’s first goal gave them the lead after being behind. But Martin Odegaard’s first-time finish equalised for the Gunners minutes later.
Emile Smith-Rowe scored his fourth goal in six games to give Arsenal the lead a quarter of an hour into the match. Mikel Arteta’s side arguably then showed United too much respect and sat back after scoring and this allowed the hosts back into the game.
Just shy of the 45th minute, Bruno Fernandes equalised for United after a creative phase of play. Jadon Sancho found the brilliant run of Fred in the box who then cut the ball back for Fernandes to put past Aaron Ramsdale.
Story of the game
Arsenal took the lead through Smith-Rowe but their opener came in controversial fashion. The Gunners’ corner-kick was initially cleared by Harry Maguire but as the United captain cleared, Fred stood on David De Gea’s foot and the goalkeeper went down in pain.
Maguire’s clearance fell to Mohamed Elneny who teed up Smith-Rowe and he swung his left foot into a goal guarded by only a downed De Gea.
The referee, Martin Atkinson, went to blow the whistle when he saw De Gea down but by the time the whistle was brought to his lips, the ball had already crossed the line.
After a bright start for the visitors, they perhaps allowed United to grow into the game slightly and Carrick’s side found themselves level at the break thanks to one of their three Portuguese players on the pitch. It was Fernandes who capitalised on Fred’s cut-back and hammered past Ramsdale.
Less than ten minutes into the second half and Ronaldo had put United ahead. It was excellent football that started with Alex Telles. His beautiful pass found Rashford out on the right wing and he played a ball into Ronaldo to score his 800th career goal and make it 2-1.
But Arsenal came right back at United and got the equalising goal through Odegaard. The Norwegian’s first-time finish was slotted to perfection past De Gea which put the game on a knife-edge.
Yet another glorious run into the penalty area from Fred brought contact by Odegaard and somehow Atkinson waved play on. He was quickly instructed by the video assistant referee to take a look at the monitor, and he awarded the penalty.
Ronaldo smashed it home and Old Trafford erupted.
He was then substituted and headed down the tunnel holding his leg but it didn't appear too serious.
United were desperate for the three points as they could have fallen significantly down the table, putting immediate pressure on Rangnick. But the German will come into the Palace fixture on Sunday with the squad beaming with confidence.