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Record-tying David De Gea a perfect 10/10 in United victory over Arsenal

In an astonishing match that proceeded at the speed of a superhero movie, Manchester United emerged victorious 3-1 away at Arsenal, yet still had ample room for worry. It was the kind of game in which Jesse Lingard's two goals and David De Gea's otherworldly performance will be overshadowed, in the long run, by Paul Pogba's late red card that will rule him out of the Manchester derby next week. This was an utterly thrilling contest and Arsenal will be in disbelief for weeks, lamenting how often they were defied by the brilliant Spaniard in United's goal. His performance, and this game, were both for the ages.

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David De Gea was majestic, Jesse Lingard pressed and finished superbly, Romelu Lukaku -- though often isolated -- led the line well, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young got forward well time and again, and Anthony Martial was at times irrepressible.


Manchester United's centre-backs were an unfamiliar grouping and it showed, with Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Marcos Rojo looking unsure of themselves to varying degrees. Had they had a worse goalkeeper, they would have paid a heavy price.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Jose Mourinho presided over some wonderful counter-attacking, with his team combining beautifully on the break and absorbing astonishing amounts of pressure in defence. His back three seemed immune to many of his angriest instructions, but this was an excellent result by any measure against a team scoring freely of late.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David De Gea, 10 -- Outstanding, remarkable, breathtaking. And that was just his first-half performance. In the second half he went even better, with one of the best double saves many can remember. Arsenal players and fans alike held their head in shock as he made A Premier League record-tying 14 stops, almost none of which were routine. On this form, there are two or three goalkeepers in the world who might be as good as him, but none better.

DF Antonio Valencia, 8 -- The captain set the tone by overlapping and finishing in style for the game's opening goal. He doesn't score often, but when he does so, they are fine strikes. Defended with his usual effort and diligence, which were both very notable.

DF Chris Smalling, 5 -- An uncertain showing -- his passing was reasonable enough, but his positional awareness was a worry, and he could not be trusted to take charge of awkward situations in his area.

DF Victor Lindelof, 7 -- Was the best of the back three, looking more assured than Rojo and Smalling for long periods, but at times falling prey to the collective lack of organisation.

DF Marcos Rojo, 5 -- Looked to have lost his bearings now and then, eluded a little too easily by Arsenal's forwards and perhaps still playing his way back toward his best form and sharpness. Needs to eradicate the rash tackles from his game again.

DF Ashley Young, 8 -- Very strong performance again from a player enjoying an unexpected purple patch of form. Worked extremely hard, clearing his lines without fuss and surging forward time and again, but there was also a notable guile to his play. Perhaps in his best form for United.

David De Gea made several extraordinary saves against Arsenal to keep Man United in front.

MF Nemanja Matic, 7 -- Made one extraordinary block in the first half with De Gea -- for once -- stranded, and marshalled the midfield as well as he could for much of the game. Was pushed back on his heels at times, but still made a decisive contribution.

MF Paul Pogba, 6 -- The very definition of the mixed performance. Conjured two wonderful assists for his team's first and third goals, with a calm, perceptive pass for the first and then a spellbinding dribble for the second. Dictated the tempo of the game very well whenever needed. Yet also conceded the ball recklessly now and then and committed a poor foul resulting in a straight red card, which will rule him out of the Manchester derby.

MF Jesse Lingard, 9 -- A virtually perfect performance. His work off the ball, as United had less than 30 percent of the possession, was magnificent -- he pressed in the manner of Park Ji-sung. His movement led him to score twice, both goals coming at vital moments of the game, and he finished with the assurance of an elite forward. Exceptional game.

FW Anthony Martial, 8 -- In excellent form of late, typified by his brilliant assist to Lingard for United's second. Terrific movement and control, with a work rate to match his ruthlessness. Hard to see past him as a starter on this form.

FW Romelu Lukaku, 7 -- Went without a goal again, but played a vital role in United's opener with an intelligent reverse pass, and generally held the ball up well. Was isolated after a while as Arsenal poured forward, but was enough of a threat on the break to keep Arsenal concerned. Probably should have been awarded a late penalty.


MF Ander Herrera, 7 (for Martial, 67) -- Brought essential balance to United's midfield, being a crucial extra body against Arsenal's onslaught. Spread the play calmly under pressure, though he did pick up what was almost a trademark yellow.

DF Matteo Darmian, NR (for Lingard, 76) -- Not the most sure of himself upon his introduction and was very fortunate not to concede a penalty for a foul on Danny Welbeck.

FW Marcus Rashford, NR (for Young, 90+3) -- Came on late to run down the clock and had little to do in the closing seconds.

Musa Okwonga is one of ESPN FC's Manchester United bloggers. Follow on Twitter: @Okwonga.


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