Last year’s Premier League runners-up hosted the side that finished third on Sunday afternoon as these teams looked to kick on from more unconvincing starts than their respective points tallies suggested.
Marcus Rashford brilliantly put Erik ten Hag’s United ahead in the first half at the Emirates Stadium, only for Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard to impressively level 110 seconds later.
The match looked set to end in an absorbing draw after a penalty for a foul on Kai Havertz was overturned following a pitchside review, before the VAR ruled out substitute Alejandro Garnacho’s late winner for narrowly straying offside.
United’s wholehearted celebrations were cut short and there was still time for more drama in a jaw-dropping ending.
A deep corner found Rice to slam home his first Arsenal goal off the heel of Jonny Evans in the sixth minute of stoppage time, before substitute Jesus coolly added gloss for Mikel Arteta’s men.
United left the capital shell-shocked at the end of an afternoon that began with their fans chanting for the Glazers to sell and their team surviving a scare.
Havertz failed to get away a clean shot when Diogo Dalot’s headed clearance deflected off team-mate Anthony Martial, with Lisandro Martinez’s quick thinking then denying Eddie Nketiah.
Arsenal looked emboldened by that moment. Rice headed over from a corner that followed some important interventions by under-the-cosh United, who did not manage a shot until the 27th minute. It proved worth the wait.
Christian Eriksen cut out a pass from Havertz deep in United territory and burst forwards through the middle, before picking the perfect time to pass through to Rashford.
The United forward showed skill and composure to cut inside away from Arsenal defenders and hit a right-footed drive that Aaron Ramsdale could only tip onto the inside of the post.
Andre Onana celebrated wildly in front of the away end, but United’s goalkeeper was calling for calm after Arsenal struck straight back.
Gabriel’s ball forwards was flicked on by Gabriel Martinelli, who continued down the left and got the ball back before cutting back for Odegaard to slam home from 16 yards.
The Emirates erupted and it felt like a wild end to the half would unfold, yet it petered out as both sides had efforts without seriously threatening.
Arsenal returned brightly from the break but United nearly scored against the run of play in the 54th minute, with Martial seeing a shot saved before Rashford’s follow-up was blocked.
Arsenal appeared to have the ideal chance to capitalise on that let-off when referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot five minutes later.
Havertz hit the deck as Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Casemiro closed in on him, but the decision was overturned after Taylor reviewed the pitchside monitor on the VAR’s advice.
Ten Hag turned to summer signing Rasmus Hojlund for his debut as he looked to change the flow of the game, which was further altered when Martinez was hurt fouling Nketiah.
The Argentina international was booked before being replaced by Harry Maguire, whose name was chanted by Arsenal fans as he came on for the visitors.
Martinelli fizzed a first-time struck narrowly wide and Bukayo Saka fired straight at Onana, with Rashford and Hojlund causing a headache for Arsenal.
Casemiro’s threaded ball put Garnacho in to coolly strike past Ramsdale and spark wild celebrations that eventually turned to nerves during a VAR review that ended up in an offside call.
It was a gut punch for a United side that would soon be left reeling from a knockout blow.
Saka’s deep corner was picked up at the far post by an inexplicably free Rice, who saw a drive go in via a slight Evans touch as Arsenal fans celebrated a killer blow in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
The cherry on the cake was provided by Jesus in the 101st minute. The substitute run through on goal, cut away from a sliding Dalot and turned the ball past Onana.
RICE FIRES HOME AT THE NEAR POST AFTER A CORNER
🔴 2-1 🟢 (90+7) pic.twitter.com/4XVNFyrXKi
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 3, 2023
*copy from Press Association.
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