In this article, we will take a look at some of the key takeaways from one of the most defining rivalries of the Premier League era as Arsenal traveled to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United
Ronaldo; another stop on the goal train in historic Man United brace
Cristiano Ronaldo and goalscoring have become synonymous over the nineteen years that the Portuguese legend has graced the beautiful game and that connection continued at Old Trafford tonight as he bagged a brace in front of the home support.
🐐 things by Cristiano Ronaldo!
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 2, 2021
His first goal on the night came just seven minutes after the half-time interval to put United 2-1 up after the Red Devils found themselves 1-0 down thanks to an Emile Smith Rowe strike from distance that beat David De Gea in bizarre fashion. It was his 800th goal of what is one of the most notable careers in European football history; the only player in history to bag that many in official competitive matches.
Ronaldo secured his brace from 12-yards-out after Norwegian international Martin Ødegaard inexplicably brought Brazilian midfielder Fred down in the area, only for Ronaldo to smash his effort right down the middle of Aaron Ramsdale’s goal to restore United’s 1-goal lead after Ødegaard had leveled matters at two goals apiece 16-minutes prior with a lovely finish into the bottom corner.
But despite the Portuguese leading man no longer being the silky showman when on the ball, his ability to turn up in the biggest moments has come good once again during his second stint at United. Now sitting on six goals for the season – which catapults him up the goalscoring charts and up to fifth – there is surely more to come from Cristiano Ronaldo in 2021-22.
Arsenal desperately need a new center-forward
The goal drought continues for Arsenal leading striker and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tonight after the Gabonese star failed to find the back of the net for the fifth consecutive match in the Premier League after seemingly winning the duel to lead the line over friend and clubmate Alexandre Lacazette.
But Auba has hardly been at the races this season despite Arsenal sitting within earshot of a top-four place coming into proceedings at Old Trafford tonight, posting just four goals in twelve league outings this season.
New: Arteta: Aubameyang still has the goalscoring capacity https://t.co/4zuMg8nwJ3 #arsenal #afc pic.twitter.com/5g0qvmhFut
— arseblognews (@arseblognews) December 2, 2021
He still has the faith of Mikel Arteta, who recently stated that Aubameyang still has the capacity to find the goals that Arsenal require from their leading man, but firing blanks for prolonged periods has become standard for the former Borussia Dortmund star in what has been a serious regression in goal output when compared to other parts of his career.
For a striker that hit 52-goals in 87-appearances in his first two-and-a-half seasons at the Emirates, he followed up his immediate rate of return with just ten in twenty-nine last season and is now in the midst of his worst goal rate since 2010-11 with AS Monaco. There should be no surprise that Arsenal remains determined to bring in new blood to lead the line moving forward.
Michael Carrick stakes a claim for a head manager role after United posting
With the appointment of Ralf Rangnick in an interim capacity before the club expect to bring in a top-level name to officially replace Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Manchester United has made it abundantly clear that managerial experiments appear to be over at Old Trafford.
But Michael Carrick can walk out of his caretaker position after tonight with his head held high after the former Red Devils midfielder stood in the gap stoutly for a small period of time while the club tried to sort out its future on the touchline.
Tonight’s win against Arsenal was not only an entertaining result but showed that Carrick could garner another strong result in the wake of a credible 1-1 draw against Chelsea at the weekend. United has taken seven of a possible nine points during his short tenure as caretaker boss, and one has to wonder if there is a club either in the Premier League or in the Championship that would be willing to take a punt on the former England international.
Fellow former colleagues Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, and Wayne Rooney have all taken to management in recent years, with Rooney performing admirably at Derby County and Gerrard one of the highlighted young managers of a potential growing generation. Could Carrick go on to similar success somewhere? Only time will tell.