The Gunners had enjoyed the better start but Marcus Rashford powered United in front just past the quarter of an hour mark, lashing in from distance. Their lead didn’t last long though as a fine move by the hosts saw United opened up down the Gunners’ left wing, with Granit Xhaka’s cross headed in at the far post by Eddie Nketiah.
After the break it was very much the same type of end-to-end action, with Bukayo Saka putting the hosts in front with a whipped finish into the bottom corner.
That lead also lasted only minutes as Lisandro Martinez looped in a header, but the Gunners pushed for the victory in the closing stages and it was Nketiah who netted in the last minute to give his side the points.
Here are the player ratings from the Emirates Stadium.
Aaron Ramsdale, 5. Beaten very easily from range to his low, near post. Did make a good save from Rashford after the break but then flapped at a corner to gift 2-2 shortly after. Lucky not to be beaten again when Rashford beat him to the ball outside the box, but the striker lost his footing.
Ben White, 5. Clattered Rashford to get an early yellow and had another couple of issues with both the winger and Luke Shaw. Didn’t really get involved in play higher upfield and was subbed at the break.
Gabriel Magalhaes, 7. Strong defensively whenever play was down his channel and reliable on the ball. Not Arsenal’s best-ever defensive performance across the board but the Brazilian had good individual moments.
William Saliba, 6. Not quite as assured as his partner but was strong in the air and made plenty of recovery covers.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, 7. Often the first outlet for Arsenal, making space with short diagonal runs and passes which United couldn’t track. Defensively had a few issues with players running off him but played his part.
Thomas Partey, 8. Dominated the centre of the park, running his United rivals off the ball and covering behind his centre-backs whenever required. Showed great pace to see off Antony second half and nobody could get near him when he surged forward.
Granit Xhaka, 7. Was slightly bypassed centrally in that frantic start, but sent a delicious cross over for the Nketiah equaliser. More involved going forward second half and definitely played his part in the Gunners effectively winning the battle, if not the war.
Bukayo Saka, 9. As usual a formidable outlet, beating Shaw one-v-one with real frequency. Made a goal out of absolutely nothing after the break, a stunner. Went at Shaw non-stop and always looked Arsenal’s best route to chances.
Martin Odegaard, 8. Delicate, deliberate and deft with his touches around the box, going close several times to creating scoring chances for his teammates. United had nobody to match his movement and service.
Eddie Nketiah, 8. Had barely had a touch before he pounced to nod in the equaliser from close range. Offered some great holdup play and work rate - and after he almost won it near the end, he then did win it from close range.
Subs: T Tomiyasu 6, L Trossard n/a, R Holding n/a
David de Gea, 6. Poor footwork to clear his lines marred his first half, including leading to Arsenal’s build-up for the equaliser. Had no chance with Saka’s goal but then made a brilliant reflex stop on Nketiah late on. Still wasn’t enough.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 5. Not alert for the equaliser, beaten by his man running from behind. Made a couple of trademark recovery tackles in the second half but was given a very hard evening by Martinelli.
Raphael Varane, 6. Not as imposing as he might have been when Arsenal had constant second-half pressure. Nothing specifically poor and made plenty of clearances, but not authoritative either.
Lisandro Martinez, 7. United’s best defender, made one great challenge to deny Xhaka in the box. Popped up at the other end with a loopy header to equalise too.
Luke Shaw, 5. Constantly backed off Saka which led to so many dangerous chances and near misses. Booked too.
Scott McTominay, 5. Made a few tackles but lacked the dynamism to shackle Partey and was slow to cover across for Saka’s goal. Hasn’t been in the team too much of late and it showed.
Christian Eriksen, 5. Strangely wayward with his passing and well off the pace defensively for central midfield. Easily beaten by Saka for the second Arsenal goal.
Antony, 4. Offered nothing first half outside of dead-end dribbles. Decision-making to shoot or cross was woeful.
Bruno Fernandes, 6. Had a few moments where he pushed the team forward and looked a threat on the break but far too involved in off-ball aggressions and irritations to have a lasting impact.
Marcus Rashford, 8. Continued his brilliant form with a tremendous solo early goal. Regularly United’s best outlet, but also their best presser in the final third to win the ball back high up.
Wout Weghorst, 7. A decent showing despite not really being a presence in the box; the Dutchman worked the channels, linked play in deep areas and was alongside Rashford to play off or take up the attention of a defender.
Subs: Fred 5, A Garnacho n/a