Cristiano Ronaldo scored on his return to the Manchester United team on Saturday after missing a game while grieving the death of his newborn son.
The Portugal star raised his left arm and pointed to the sky in a subdued celebration of his 100th Premier League goal, coming in the first half at Arsenal after the home fans had risen to applaud United’s No. 7 when the clock hit the seventh minute in a show of solidarity.
Ronaldo and partner Georgina Rodriguez announced on Monday that one of their newborn twins had died. He was left out of the squad that lost 4-0 at Liverpool on Tuesday.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 23, 2022
His goal at the Emirates Stadium came in the 34th minute to trim Arsenal’s lead to 2-1 but the north London club went on to win deal a blow to Manchester United’s hopes of a top-four Premier League finish as Nuno Tavares, Bukayo Saka and Granit Xhaka struck in a 3-1 win on Saturday that revived the home side’s chances of Champions League football next season.
Arsenal were rewarded for their blistering early pace as Tavares tapped home in the third minute after United goalkeeper David de Gea pushed away a curling effort by Saka, following some poor defending by the visitors at The Emirates.
Saka doubled the Gunners’ lead from the penalty spot after a foul on the winger in the build-up to a strike by Eddie Nketiah that went in but was ruled out as offside by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
United improved in the second half but their woes deepened as skipper Bruno Fernandes hit the post with a poor effort from the penalty spot following Tavares’ handball, before a 70th-minute thunderbolt from Xhaka sealed the win for the Gunners.
The win lifted Arsenal to fourth place on 60 points, three ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur who take on Brentford later on Saturday. United are sixth, with interim boss Ralf Rangnick facing a tough task in his final four games.
United have now lost four straight away league games for the first time since a run of six matches between December 1980 and March 1981. They will aim to break that losing streak against Chelsea on Thursday. Arsenal travel to West Ham United next weekend.
With four games remaining, Ronaldo has 16 Premier League goals this season since rejoining from Real Madrid, on top of the 84 goals in his first spell at United from 2003 to 2009.
(With inputs from Agencies)