Thomas Partey was missing in the Arsenal vs Manchester United match as the Gunners beat rivals the Red Devils 3-1 in a Premier League game at the Emirates Stadium.
Many had expected to see Thomas Partey, who had recently found a home at right-back for the Gunners, but the Ghanaian midfielder was missing due to a groin injury.
Both teams won their respective home matches last season, with Manchester United winning 3-1 at Old Trafford, while Arsenal returned the favour in the return clash, winning 3-2.
With Manchester City winning their first four games of the season, with their latest victory a 5-1 win over Fulham, the game took on more significance, as both sides did not want to lose ground on the league leaders.
Thomas Partey missing as both teams went into the break level
Despite the absence of Thomas Partey, Arsenal wanted to give a good account of themselves by securing all three points.
They wanted to avoid the event of last week that saw them dropping points to Fulham.
With the fanfare ahead of the game, the first ten minutes were made electric by the boisterous Arsenal fans.
The early skirmishes saw both goalkeepers keen on showing their ability to play out from the back.
Bukayo Saka was supposed to be the main outlet for the Gunners, but the English international was shackled by the United defence, who were doing a good job keeping an eye on him.
Barring drawing a few fouls and committing some, Bukayo Saka was not at his best.
We are the ONLY CLUB that will cook RICE even without a PARTEY!
— Arsenal Fans Nigeria 🇳🇬 (@ArsenalNigeria_) September 3, 2023
The best highlights for the Nigerian-born forward was taking a couple of corner kicks and going into the referee's book in the 40th minute.
The closest chance came for Arsenal early in the first half, with Kai Harvetz and Eddie Nketiah fluffing their lines with the goal at their mercy.
Manchester United got the first goal in the 27th minute through Marcus Rashford. He received a long pass on the wings and curled in a beautiful shot that Ramsdale could only get his fingertips to.
With Ben White and Gabriel unable to stop Rashford, it made fans wonder what would have happened if Thomas Partey had played the game.
The lead did not last long, as Arsenal responded after 110 seconds.
Martinelli had been Arsenal’s outlet in the first half. He cut into the box from the left past Aaron Wan Bissaka and squared the ball to Martin Odegaard, who rifled in a shot past Onana.
Arsenal break United hearts
Did Arsenal miss Thomas Partey in the first half? Not so much. Perhaps for a couple of occasions, Rashford was isolated with Ben White.
The second half started like the first, with Arsenal having the upper hand. The Gunners pinned the Red Devils into their half.
Bukayo Saka was still almost anonymous, with Man United defending doggedly.
The Red Devils came close to restoring their lead in the 54th minute when Martial received a pass inside the box.
The Frenchman saw his shot saved by Ramsdale, and Bruno Fernandes saw his rebound blocked for a corner kick.
The battle between Wan Bissaka and Martinelli was the biggest spectacle in the game, with the Brazilian always running at the Englishman.
In the 59th minute, Arsenal thought they had won a penalty when Wan Bissaka appeared to have nicked Harvetz in the box, but Anthony Taylor ruled it out after initially calling it.
In the 69th minute, Manchester United made a double substitution. New boy Rasmus Hojlund joined the fray, replacing the ineffectual Anthony Martial, while Harry Maguire replaced Lisandro Martinez.
Arsenal made their first substitution in the 77th minute.
Forget the goal. That’s the cherry on the cake. Rice’s performance kept Arsenal afloat in a midfield setup that had them struggling badly, with his coolness & progression on-the-ball. Carry job that has won them a huge match. pic.twitter.com/Mcq5PGu0M7
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) September 3, 2023
It was a triple substitution that saw Gabriel Jesus replacing Eddie Nketiah while Oleksandr Zinchenko was off for Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Fabio Vieira took the place of Kai Harvetz.
Arsenal came close to taking the lead in the 81st minute.
After some beautiful intricate passes, which eventually fell to Saka in the box, the forward hit his shot straight at Onana.
The tide turned in favour of the Gunners as Declan Rice scored his first goal for Arsenal in the 6th minute of added time.
The Gunners made sure of the win with a late goal by Gabriel Jesus to take all three points and stay within two points of Manchester City.
Thomas Partey may have missed the party, but Arsenal still celebrate.
Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale
Defenders: Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Oleksandr Zinchenko
Midfielders: Martin Odegaard, Declan Rice, Kai Havertz
Forwards: Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli
Goalkeeper: Andre Onana
Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof, Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Midfielders: Bruno Fernandes, Antony, Christian Eriksen, Casemiro
Forwards: Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago