Arsenal 3 - 0 United
Darmian(Valencia) Smalling Blind Young
Mata(Wilson) Rooney Memphis(Fellaini)
I don’t think I’ve ever seen United start a game so badly. At 1-0 I still thought we’d score a couple goals and win the game. I have that belief in Manchester United that going behind only spurs us to do better. That belief was built during Sir Alex’s tenure. 2 minutes after their first, Ozil scored the second. I was obviously a little less hopeful by now. But the game was over by the 20th minute when Sanchez scored the third. I feared a bigger score line. Arsenal could have easily hit 6 goals; we should be thankful it was only three.
What happened? We were too slow and we gave them too much space. You don’t go to the Emirates and give Arsenal that much space. They are fast and they will attack. You have to be patient against this Arsenal side. They tend to become hesitant when things don’t go their way and that’s when you can hit them. Conceding two after five minutes ruins your game plan. That’s a week of tactics gone down the drain. No one thought we’d be trailing after a few minutes especially after Arsenal’s dire performance against Olympiacos last Tuesday. However, these Arsenal players have a knack of answering their critics and they did so emphatically against us. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if they go to Watford and drop points. That’s the way they work.
At the end of the first half we had a chance that, I feel, could have changed the game. Martial created a great chance which was saved by Cech. Had that gone in, there would have been some nervous Arsenal players during the second half.
We had too many players who did not show up. Darmian had his worst game in a United shirt. Blind was poor. Carrick and Schweinsteiger too slow. Memphis was a mere bystander. Rooney looked like he was working hard but he was actually quite poor...again. Young tried hard but he’s no fullback. If Jones is back fully fit, why didn’t LVG play him at centre back and Blind on the left?
Smalling had a decent game after a turbulent 20 minutes. De Gea had no chance saving any of the goals. Mata wasn’t that bad. Subs Fellaini and Valencia had a good game. Martial was our only player who looked like creating something when he had the ball at his feet. Had he finished his chance late in the first half, he would have given Arsenal’s defence all sorts of problems during the second half.
As I said last week: this was our first real test. We failed it. We were too poor during the first half. LVG managed to change proceedings as we were better during the second but that could also be because Arsenal became complacent and had no real urgency. This result means that we have to win our upcoming games. Had we won today, we would have afforded a slip against either Everton or City. Hopefully, there were some lessons learned today and we’ll be better vs. Everton.
Our second loss this PL season; both losses came before an international break. Hopefully, we’ll bounce back with a win in a fortnight like we did vs. Liverpool after the Swansea defeat. Come on United!