Twelve minutes of the second half had elapsed when Bruno Fernandes placed the ball on the penalty spot

Twelve minutes of the second half had elapsed when Bruno Fernandes placed the ball on the penalty spot

Twelve minutes of the second half had elapsed when Bruno Fernandes placed the ball on the penalty spot.He took a few deliberate steps backward. What was left of Manchester United’s shambolic, chaotic, misshapen season was on the line. A Champions League place was on the line. He began his run-up.

In the week they announced yet another new manager — Erik ten Hag is the latest to be handed that poisoned chalice — and succumbed to a humiliating 4-0 defeat by Liverpool, that run-up felt like a symbol of quite how diminished United have become: halting, stuttering, uncertain, lacking conviction, lacking nerve.

Fernandes stopped as he got to the ball and then rolled his kick slowly towards the goal.The stadium watched as it kissed the outside of Aaron Ramsdale’s right-hand Pragmatic Vip post and trickled tamely into touch for a goal-kick. And just like that, United’s season was over. A season that has brought them nothing except mockery and disappointment and derision and an interim manager and an interim interim manager.

Arsenal beat Manchester United 3-1 to strike a potentially decisive blow in the race for the Premier League top four

Arsenal beat Manchester United 3-1 to strike a potentially decisive blow in the race for the Premier League top four

sketch your brain: Intifada\/TOPS 1 report

Nuno Tavares was on hand to score his first Arsenal goal inside the opening three minutes, a close-range tap-in

Nuno Tavares was on hand to score his first Arsenal goal inside the opening three minutes, a close-range tap-in 

Bukayo Saka converted Arsenal's second goal from the penalty spot after he'd been fouled in the lead-up to a Nketiah goal

Bukayo Saka converted Arsenal’s second goal from the penalty spot after he’d been fouled in the lead-up to a Nketiah goal

Cristiano Ronaldo points to the heavens in tribute to his baby son after halving the deficit for United late in the first-half

Cristiano Ronaldo points to the heavens in tribute to his baby son after halving the deficit for United late in the first-half

Arsenal celebrate after Bruno Fernandes (right) rolled a second-half penalty against the base of the post for United

Arsenal celebrate after Bruno Fernandes (right) rolled a second-half penalty against the base of the post for United

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