New interim manager Ralf Rangnick was not in-charge of Manchester United on Thursday but he was at the stands in Old Trafford watching a rip-roaring Premier League win over Arsenal as he got a taste of life at one of the biggest European clubs.

Caretaker manager Michael Carrick was at the helm in what turned out to be his last match for the Old Trafford club as Manchester United came back from behind to beat Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal 3-2. A brace from Cristiano Ronaldo was the highlight of the superb win as the Portugal star went past the 800-goal mark for club and country. Bruno Fernandes broke his long drought for a goal as United were charged up after a bizarre goal that gave Arsenal the lead on Thursday.

Rangnick, like every else in the stadium, would have been bewildered at the nature of the opening goal, scored by Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe while United goalkeeper David De Gea was lying on the ground on the goal-line, clutching his foot.

De Gea had been trodden on by teammate Fred at a corner but play carried on as the ball found its way to Smith Rowe, who volleyed into an empty net from the edge of the area. Referee Martin Atkinson put his whistle toward his lips but chose not to blow it and, after a long wait while De Gea received treatment, signaled a goal — to the chagrin of United’s players who immediately surrounded the official.

United responded through Bruno Fernandes’ goal on his 100th appearance for the team before Ronaldo scored either side of a strike by Martin Odegaard to guide United to a victory that lifted the team to seventh place, three points off the top four.


Ronaldo, whose winner came from the penalty spot and was followed by his trademark pirouette-in-the-air celebration, moved onto 801 goals for his career for club and country and played like a man eager to impress his new manager.

“What can you say about him?” Fernandes said of the 36-year-old Ronaldo. “He is proving game by game, season by season, year by year, he wants to keep being the best.”

Rangnick, who was hired Monday as interim manager for the rest of the season, received his work permit hours before the match and will take charge for the first time against Crystal Palace at home on Sunday.

Carrick won’t be around for that. Minutes after the final whistle, United announced the former midfielder — who played for the team from 2006-18 before joining the coaching staff — would be leaving the club. Carrick said he wanted to spend more time with his family, having gone straight into coaching after retiring as a player.

“It was like an old-school classic and hopefully the boys will go on to enjoy more nights like this in the future,” Carrick said.

Arsenal stayed fifth, missing a chance to jump into the top four.


India today

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