Three things Arteta got right as Arsenal boost top-four hopes with Man Utd win

Arsenal remain in the race for a top-four spot after battling to a well-deserved 3-1 win over Manchester United.

Nuno Tavares opened the scoring in just the third minute, following some dreadful defending from United. The left-back was unmarked at the far post and had the easy task of tapping home to leave United, who left captain Harry Maguire on the bench, stunned.

Things went from bad to worse for the Red Devils when the Gunners were awarded a penalty following a foul on Bukayo Saka. The Three Lions youngster duly stepped up to double his side's lead but that didn't last long though, as Cristiano Ronaldo halved the deficit with his 100th Premier League goal.

The Red Devils had the chance to equalise in the second-half but Bruno Fernandes missed his penalty kick. Arsenal then made them pay as Granit Xhaka's long-range screamer made sure of the three points. Here's what Arteta got right…

Tavares risk pays off (but only just)…

Tavares received plenty of stick after his miserable showing in Arsenal's 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace earlier this month. The Portuguese youngster, 22, has been given the chance to impress in recent weeks after Kieran Tierney was ruled out for the season.

And, despite his inconsistent displays, Arteta has continued to stick by his second-choice let-back – and he was rewarded with a goalscoring performance at the Emirates. Arteta wants his side to play attacking football and Tavares displayed his strengths on Saturday.

Yes, you could say that his job is to defend, but Arteta will have been impressed with the youngster's ability to bounce back from his recent woes. He did, however, show his weakness by giving away a penalty in the second half and was fortunate to see Fernandes miss his spot-kick.

Saka delivers again…

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Much was made of Saka's penalty heartbreak for England at Euro 2020 – but the Arsenal star has now recovered and he is delivering the goods for Arteta. Having scored from the spot in the midweek win over Chelsea, the Three Lions youngster was on target from 12 yards again.

Speaking before the game, Rio Ferdinand was of praise for the Gunners star – and his prediction proved spot on. The former United and England defender told BT Sport: "I think a significant moment for him this week was the penalty.

"Especially after the Euros and the aftermath after that, for him to pick that ball up and show that mental strength, the desire and the will to do that, for someone so young it is fantastic to see and what an example to those young players. Yes, there is downturns in football, but never shy away, show that heart and that you can come back from anything."

Odegaard role…

It seems Arteta identified United's midfield as a weakness for his team to exploit. That was certainly obvious in the first half, with Martin Odegaard given license to roam throughout the opening 45 minutes.

The former Real Madrid ace was given plenty of space to pull the strings in the middle of the park – and United were unable to find a way to keep the Norwegian quiet.

There were so many opportunities for Odegaard to feed his attackers; and he certainly done that, including providing a glorious ball in the build-up to Arsenal's first-half penalty. Arteta deserves the plaudits for getting his tactics spot on.

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