After Arsenal’s defeat, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag lambastes the officials: “Definitely many decisions were against us.”


The United boss identified four choices that cost his team.

In LondonThis was a game that Erik ten Hag lost in a matter of seconds—four seconds, to be exact. In a 3-1 loss against Arsenal, which was scored in the waning seconds by Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus, his Manchester United team deserved better than what they received. But at a joyous Emirates Stadium, a series of decisions that the manager felt had been made in error finally led to the visitors’ defeat.

Ten Hag felt wronged beginning with a penalty given to Arsenal that Anthony Taylor then revoked after determining Kai Havertz had not been sufficiently touched to warrant a penalty. In this case, the problem was that the German had not yet gotten a diving reservation. Replays indicated there may have been contact, but not enough to merit a penalty.

A series of dramatic last-second events followed, with Rice scoring with a volley from a corner where Ten Hag thought Gabriel was impeding Jonny Evans’ attempts to play the ball. The Arsenal defender had earlier engaged in a struggle in the area with replacement Rasmus Hojlund, with United appeals being dismissed by Taylor. Alejandro Garnacho appeared to have won it moments later after bursting past the Arsenal defence, but VAR determined the teenage winger had accelerated slightly past Gabriel and into an offside position.

Ten Hag commented, “The performance was right, but the outcome was not on our side. “Undoubtedly, several judgements went against us.

“Let’s begin with the penalty imposed but disregarded. Even though everyone can see that it’s a dive, Havertz is not booked for it. Then, I don’t believe that the VAR spotted the foul on [Rasmus] Hojlund in the penalty area. Then Garnacho’s goal was disallowed because of what I believe to be an incorrect angle.

“How can they approve of the [second] goal? Jonny Evans committed a clear and obvious foul for failing to stop Declan Rice’s shot. There are several.

In most situations, it is simple to understand why Ten Hag may feel resentful, but it was unclear what approach he would suggest for demonstrating that Garnacho was on his side. A thunderous Arteta might have entered the Emirates Stadium media room if his team had lost after the Havertz penalty was overturned, but none of Taylor’s judgements jumped out as particularly bad mistakes.

If you ignore those situations, Ten Hag had a much more favourable opinion of the more than 100 minutes that may have been the most important game of the year thus far. “Our effort was excellent. At this point in the game, it is impossible for me to state that we were flawless. Although there is undoubtedly space for growth, the team is quite composed when it comes to compactness, pressing, moving with the ball, making counters, and possession. When playing under their pressure, we never allowed Arsenal the chance to press us.

“We could have handled the following stage better. The appropriate movement at the right time is necessary to receive the following pass. This game had a lot of good aspects. It stands to reason that there is opportunity for improvement at this point in the season.

It is simpler to concur with Ten Hag’s assessment that United may have been better than that they were particularly strong. They undoubtedly had their moments and continue to be a deadly force during times of transition as they have been in recent years. Marcus Rashford created just enough space in the 27th minute to curve a shot out of Aaron Ramsdale’s reach when he found himself alone with Ben White.

The threat that arises when any opponent pressures the United backline has been quickly eliminated by the presence of Andre Onana between the posts. When their custodian clipped the ball over an Arsenal forward and into their path, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof, who were both forced off the pitch due to injury in the second half, handled it in a manner reminiscent of a high wire act. However, that must be contrasted with the one instance in which United looked like a thoroughly modern team, when Onana slipped the ball in behind Eddie Nketiah and allowed Martinez to advance. One of the better opportunities for the visitors came at that time, when Anthony Martial forced Ramsdale into a save before William Saliba stopped Marcus Rashford from converting the rebound.

However, this was a squad that had very few strategies for moving into Arsenal territory. Even though they had more of the ball in the first half, the visitors still only had 45 percent of possession because too much of it was in dangerous areas where they were being pursued by Martin Odegaard’s group of pressing Arsenal attackers. The odds are stacked against you when the dangerous Gabriel Martinelli has just one touch less in your third of the pitch than your complete forward four have in Arsenal’s.