“If United win today it will put their season right, I think,” says Digvijay Yadav. “They can make a fist of something this time I think. Not sure of what exactly.”
Now that’s what I call pre-match optimism.
Palace pipped Wolves in a wildly entertaining second half that included all five goals. Odsonne Edouard scored twice and Ebere Eze finished beautifully after an ingenious assist from Jean-Phillipe Mateta.
Liverpool move up to third after making light work of a tricky fixture. Dominic Szoboszlai’s rasping early goal set the tone, Matty Cash scored an own goal and Mo Salah tapped in the third after half-time.
It wasn’t all good news. Trent Alexander-Arnold, who captained Liverpool and was apparently superb, went off injured towards the end.
I think that’s another goal scored with the shoulder by Wolves. Pedro Neto’s wicked cross was put in from close range from Matheus Cunha, but there isn’t time for an equaliser.
It’s a really warm day in London, not conducive to chasing leather. Arsenal overwhelmed United in midfield in this fixture in January and will try to do to the same again. Scott McTominay was playing that day ahead of the suspended Casemiro but the rest of the United midfield is the same. Arsenal have Declan Rice and Kai Havertz in place of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka.
Arsenal v Man Utd Here’s Erik ten Hag on Rasmus Hojlund, who is on the bench this afternoon.
He is brave and that’s enough. He has belief … We scouted his skill and personality. Everywhere he has been so far, he’s made a big impact.
That’ll do. Odsonne Edouard gets his second, running onto an extravagant backheel from Mateta and driving a low shot past Jose Sa.
79 min: Liverpool 3-0 Aston Villa Still 3-0. There’s lots going on, forgive me. Aston Villa’s results this season are a bit of a brainbuster: 1-5, 4-0, 5-0, 3-1, 3-0, 0-3. It’s like watching Zeman’s Foggia!
Moments after his free-kick is superbly saved by Jose Sa, Ebere Eze runs on to an ingenious backpass (as in, with his back) from Jean-Philippe Mateta, adjusts his feet smartly and beats Jose Sa. That’s a lovely finish from an extremely likeable footballer.
Mikel Arteta makes three changes from Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Fulham last weekend. The lesser spotted Gabriel replaces the injured Thomas Partey, which means Ben White will (okay, should) move to right-back. Oleksandr Zinchenko is fit to start as the roaming left-back, which means Jakub Kiwior drops out, and Eddie Nketiah – who scored twice in this fixture last season, including a late winner – is preferred up front to Leandro Trossard. It’s much closer to last season’s team.
Manchester United have four new signings on the bench, including Rasmus Hojlund. That means Anthony Martial starts up front. The only change from the win over Nottingham Forrest last weekend is at centre-back, where Victor Lindelof replaces the injured Raphael Varane. They are a bit light on the bench, with Jadon Sancho and Scott McTominay joining the list of unavailable players. We don’t know whether that’s because of illness or injury.
Arsenal (4-1-2-3ish) Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice; Odegaard, Havertz; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.
Substitutes: Raya, Tomiyasu, Kiwior, Jorginho, Smith Rowe, Nelson, Vieira, Trossard, Jesus.
Manchester United (4-2-1-3ish) Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Martinez, Dalot; Casemiro, Eriksen; Fernandes; Antony, Martial, Rashford.
Substitutes: Bayindir, Evans, Maguire, Reguilon, Gore, Hannibal, Pellistri, Garnacho, Hojlund.
Referee Anthony Taylor.
Wolves have equalised! The substitute Hwang Hee-chan has scored with his shoulder from Pedro Neto’s near-post free-kick. He mistimed an attempted header, but the ball hit his right shoulder before swirling across Sam Johnstone and into the net.
Mo Salah hasn’t been in the news for a while, but that’s about to change: he has put Liverpool 3-0 up at Anfield.
It was a simple finish, poked in on the half-volley after a right-wing corner was headed across goal by Darwin Nunez.
60 min: Crystal Palace 1-0 Wolves Edouard’s goal was the first attempt at goal by either team in the second half, and I can picture Roy Hodgson’s face tightening in disgust that a fellow human being might consider such a statistic worthy of note when a goal has just been scored.
Palace take the lead with a well-worked goal. Tyrick Mitchell crosses to the near post, where Odsonne Edouard gets across his man and stabs a close-range volley past Jose Sa.
Arsenal v Man Utd And here’s Barney Ronay on a chaotic – if ultimately successful – transfer window at Old Trafford.
Arsenal v Man Utd Here’s Jonathan Wilson on the midfield issues facing Mikel Arteta and Erik ten Hag.
In his first title-winning season in England, Guardiola would often play Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva as “free 8s” in a midfield three with Fernandinho, something permitted by the excellence of his side in possession, but it’s notable that he too has become less radical. Ilkay Gündogan, a far more defensive player than Silva, became the balancing figure, and then there was the tweak of pushing a full-back (or, at times, centre-back) into midfield as auxiliary cover for Rodri.
50 min: Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa Alisson has just made a fine save from Matty Cash, who almost scored at both ends.
If it stays like this, Liverpool will join Spurs and West Ham on 10 points, two behind the Erling Haaland team.
We’ll also have goalflashes – there must be a more elegant word for that – from the second half of the 2pm games. These are the half-time scores.
Crystal Palace 0-0 Wolves
Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
Szoboszlai 3, Cash 22 og
One of these decades, a preview of Arsenal v Manchester United won’t include footage of Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira and friends snarling at each other*. But for now, this is a fixture stuck in its glorious past. The only way Arsenal and United can change that is by becoming the best two teams in England again, and there’s one almighty obstacle in their way.
The two clubs started the season with tentative optimism that they might make Pep Guardiola eat second place. But their performances so far have been a reminder that evolution rarely comes without unintended consequences. Mikel Arteta’s attempt to take Arsenal to another level has meant, at least in the short term, a loss of the rhythm that made them so exhilarating last season. United have a vulnerable midfield (Sofyan Amrabat isn’t available today), a growing injury list and a truly wretched record in big away games under Erik ten Hag. That record makes Arsenal strong favourites today.
There is one bit of good news for United; the £72m striker Rasmus Hojlund, who signed from Atalanta in the summer, will make his debut. It takes time to integrate players, develop systems and change cultures, but modern life and Manchester City don’t give you time. The winner, if there is one today, will go into the international break with a spring in their step, their season up and running. The loser will be advised to turn off the radio, and the TV, and the internet, for the next few days. And they might want to tell the paperboy to bugger off as well.
Kick off 4.30pm.
* The actual football was magnificent as well, which is sometimes forgotten amid the nostalgic celebration of mutual loathing