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Man United: Lisandro Martinez was “magnificent” in Arsenal defeat

Manchester United endured late heartache for the second game running, as Erik ten Hag’s men were undone by a rampant Arsenal side at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday evening.

Just days after slipping up away to Crystal Palace, the Red Devils again failed to build on their derby day momentum after suffering a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the league leaders, with Eddie Nketiah producing the decisive blow at the death.

The visitors had initially got off to the perfect start as Marcus Rashford netted his fifth goal from his last six Premier League games with a stunning, dipping strike from distance, only for that man Nketiah to nod home at the back post soon after.

The ever-dangerous Bukayo Saka then lashed in a sensational, curling effort from range to complete the turnaround for the Gunners, albeit with United’s Lisandro Martinez then levelling the scoreline once again with a looping and inventive header.

With the away side having been hanging on in the closing stages of the match, it was the north Londoners who then deservedly secured the win in the 90th minute, with the aforementioned Nketiah poking the ball past a helpless David De Gea.

That ensured a frustrating trip back to Manchester for the Old Trafford outfit, with Ten Hag and co having been dealt a “reality check” as a result of that defeat, as per club legend Roy Keane.

Despite the overall disappointment, however, the former Ajax boss can be encouraged by the performances of a handful of his key men, with the resurgent Rashford having particularly impressed with his fine, early strike, while also again going close after the break only to see his effort brilliantly saved by Aaron Ramsdale.

Those two moments of magic illustrated the rich vein of form that the Englishman is enjoying at present, although there was another United man who was arguably more impressive on the day, with summer signing Martinez having been “magnificent” according to Manchester Evening News journalist Samuel Luckhurst.

While the World Cup winner’s diving header was undoubtedly his most telling contribution in the match, the bruised and bandaged Argentine was also a leading figure throughout the fierce encounter, having shown his strength both in and out of possession against Arteta’s men.

The 25-year-old notably won four of his six total duels on the night, repeatedly putting his body on the line as he recorded four interceptions, three clearances and two blocked shots, as well as a further two tackles in total.

The 5 foot 10 menace was particularly crucial in denying Granit Xhaka in the second half after producing a vital, last-ditch tackle to deny the Switzerland international, with teammate De Gea having shown an unwillingness to come out and claim the ball himself.

Lauded by Luckhurst as arguably the club’s “player of the season” so far following the win over Fulham back in November, the menacing centre-back was also a real bonus when on the ball, having notably played six passes into the final third and enjoyed 76 touches in total.

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As Luckhurst stated, the defender’s ‘line-breaking passes were a danger to Arsenal’, with it no doubt useful for Ten Hag to have a player who is both ‘handy in defence and attack’.

In truth, the Gualegay native was integral in ensuring that the Red Devils did not simply wilt amid the relentless attacking onslaught of the opposition, with the 15-cap monster likely to be left frustrated by the individual defensive errors of those around him that ultimately proved costly, namely Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the Gunners’ opening goal.

Despite the undoubted disappointment of the defeat, Martinez – who led the way for the visitors with a match rating of 8.0, as per Sofascore – can hold his head high after another commanding performance at the heart of the backline.