Arsenal were made to pay the price for two first-half mistakes, as a David De Gea-inspired Manchester United claimed the first victory of the season from an away side at the Emirates Stadium with a 3-1 win.
The Gunners were left chasing the game after two individual errors from Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi placed the hosts 2-0 goals down by the 11th minute.
Arsenal reacted well with a huge share of the attempts at goal, as Alexandre Lacazette found a way through the De Gea in the second half before Jesse Lingard’s eventual killer blow, as 10-man United closed the game following Paul Pogba’s red card.
Lacazette was passed fit for as a surprise inclusion for today’s clash, having been a doubt for the game with a groin injury picked up in midweek.
The Gunners would need the firepower, as Man United snatched at the chance to find themselves a goal up by the 4th minute, courtesy of Antonio Valencia.
Intercepting Laurent Koscielny’s pass out wide, Valencia was on hand to work it with Pogba on the edge of Arsenal’s area before drilling his shot under Petr Čech to give José Mourinho’s men a 1-0 lead.
Arsenal’s backline was caught snoozing once more in the 11th minute, crucially allowing Lingard to be fed through on goal by Anthony Martial before slotting away his finish, as Wenger called on Alex Iwobi to replace the injured Shkodran Mustafi.
Confusion at the other end almost had the hosts back in contention, as Lacazette came sniffing around for a couple of unclaimed plays close to De Gea’s goal in the 20th minute.
The Frenchman emerged again in the 32nd minute deep inside United’s area in a bid to find a way around De Gea, with the rebound finding itself spare for Granit Xhaka to steer at goal before it skipped agonisingly wide.
United’s shot-stopper had both of Arsenal’s full-backs trying their luck from range en route to half-time, with neither getting enough behind their efforts beat the Spaniard.
De Gea starred once more when Romelu Lukaku directed the ball at his own goal from Mesut Özil’s free-kick, palming the danger away and maintaining the visitors’ lead prior to the interval.
Arsenal would make the perfect start to the second period, though, as Ramsey beat the United offside trap to selflessly hook a pass back for Lacazette before the Frenchman could blast his effort into the back of the net.
At the other end, Lingard found himself one-on-one with Čech, who would do just enough to move the ball onto the far-post before Martial’s failure to clean up on the rebound.
The North Londoners edged closer and closer to the equaliser when De Gea got down well to deny Lacazette in the 54th minute and, more impressively, thwarting Sanchez with his feet from the follow-up.
Lingard then grabbed what felt like the party chiller in the 63rd minute, as Pogba wriggled his way around Koscielny to set the winger up for a tap-in at the back-post, restoring United’s 2-goal-lead at 3-1.
Later on, Pogba’s straight red card in the 74th minute promised a grand-stand-finish to the game, as Arsenal put all their chips on the line with Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud joining the attack from the bench.
The Gunners had a penalty shout rejected after a swipe from Matteo Darmian on Welbeck in the 88th minute, with Nacho Monreal next in line to test De Gea with a looping header to be tipped over.
But it soon dawned on Arsène Wenger’s tired men that there’d be no way through into stoppage time, as the Red Devils claimed a 3-1 win.
By Patrick Ribeiro
Starting XI: Petr Čech (6) – Laurent Koscielny (7), Shkodran Mustafi (4), Nacho Monreal (7) – Héctor Bellerín (6), Aaron Ramsey (7), Granit Xhaka (7), Sead Kolasinac (5) – Mesut Özil (6), Alexis Sanchez (6) – Alexandre Lacazette (7)
Subs: Alex Iwobi (7), Danny Welbeck (5), Olivier Giroud (5)