When the team sheets were released, It was perhaps a surprise to see Antony straight into the starting line-up given his last game was August 14 but Ten Hag knows his player and evidently felt he could capitalise on the momentum of his signing.

Antony’s Performance

The plan was to get Antony an early touch, with Lisandro Martinez, his team-mate at Ajax, of course, drilling a long pass to him from kick-off. Antony’s attempted chest pass didn’t quite work but it was a sign of the invention that would characterise his game.

There were stepovers, flicks, cushioned touches and, in one glorious moment, a backheel to Diogo Dalot that allowed United’s right-back to whip a cross first-time that Christian Eriksen volleyed wide at the far post.

Antony’s first shot, from range, went well off target but his second, at the end of a flowing move, was sweet. He peeled into space and didn’t need a touch to sweep in Marcus Rashford’s pass. The pair tried to link up more but were occasionally off frequency. Understanding should come in time. The other side of his game was on display too. Often he harried Arsenal players, at one stage winning a throw-in deep in United territory when tackling the ball onto Gabriel Martinelli. Lots will be expected of a €100million signing, but this was an excellent start.

The Arsenal Perspective

This match will have felt quite familiar to Arsenal fans who’ve experienced other defeats at Old Trafford. Arsenal were tidy, dominated possession and had the better of the territory. Ultimately, though, they were undone by a more pragmatic team. United had far less of the ball than Arsenal, but it was still more than enough. When they broke they were incisive, and Arsenal’s defensive line was frustratingly ragged. They cut Arsenal apart far too easily, and the pace of their forward line was too much for the likes of Ben White, Gabriel and William Saliba.

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Some Arsenal players emerged from the match with credit. Gabriel Jesus and Martinelli were a thorn in United’s side but the team were ultimately undone by poor game-management. This inexperienced side clearly still has lessons to learn. Perhaps the manager will also reflect on the decision to switch to a 3-5-2 system after United’s second goal. It seemed to cause an unnecessary degree of disruption and defensive vulnerability.