Manchester United Seize on Errors to Beat Arsenal in New Jersey

Manchester United capitalised on a pair of Arsenal errors as newly-appointed captain Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho got their US tour off to a winning start. Erik ten Hag’s side finished third last season and took on the Premier League runners-up on Saturday evening at a sold-out MetLife Stadium – potential host of the 2026 World Cup final. United emerged victorious from the sides’ first meeting on American soil, Fernandes and Sancho striking in a 2-0 friendly win against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.

Gunners goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale was at fault for the opener as Fernandes all too easily beat him from distance, fresh from being named Harry Maguire’s successor as captain. An air kick by Gabriel led to Sancho’s sublime second, the forward racing through to thrash home at the near post in front of 82,262 spectators in New Jersey.

Some of those had gone home by the time a pre-arranged penalty shoot-out took place after the final whistle. Both teams wanted to take the opportunity to practise spot-kicks in front of a large crowd, United winning that too as Fabio Vieira blazed over in a 5-3 victory. United new boy Andre Onana warmed-up with his new team-mates but watched from the stands as Arsenal handed first starts to Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber.

The friendly got off to an intense start in East Rutherford, Antony dragging a poorly-hit effort wide before Gabriel Martinelli rifled narrowly off target at the other end. Play was swinging from end to end and Arsenal would have taken an 11th minute lead without the superb reactions of Tom Heaton. Bukayo Saka fired over for Martinelli to get away a thumping shot that the United goalkeeper stopped superbly, before denying the Brazilian’s follow-up.

The early ferocity quickly tapered off in the summer heat with a goalkeeping error bringing the game back to life in the 29th minute. Heaton played a long ball over to impressive 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo high on the right, who cut inside and laid off to Fernandes. The Portuguese took aim with a hopeful 25-yard strike that all too easily beat Ramsdale.

The Arsenal goalkeeper was again picking the ball out of his net in the 37th minute.

Gabriel’s awful air kick was seized upon by Sancho, who drove through on goal and kept his cool under pressure to rifle into the top corner of the near post beyond Ramsdale. Antony had attempts to make it three during a heated end to the first half. Lisandro Martinez was booked after a poor challenge on Saka saw both sides clash and Fernandes pulled furious boss Ten Hag away from officials at half-time. Amad Diallo was among 10 United introductions at the break but soon limped off through injury. Arsenal made only one half-time alteration and started well, nearly clawing one back when Eddie Nketiah slammed across the face of goal from a quickly-taken Martin Odegaard free-kick.

The Arsenal captain was left in a heap by Maguire in a tackle that saw him shown yellow, but play had been broken up by swathes of alterations by both teams. Kai Havertz headed over and Facundo Pellistri missed the target as the clock wound down, Brandon Williams leaping to clear an Emile Smith Rowe header off the line late on. United followed up their friendly win by triumphing in the subsequent shoot-out.

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