2-0 down before we had barely touched the ball. 3-0 down after 19 minutes and before United had even had a shot on goal. Completely overpowered in midfield. Completely overrun on the flanks. It was an embarrassing first 30 minutes against Arsenal, the likes of which I really cannot remember against the our old East London rivals.
One surely has to question Van Gaal’s player choices and tactics, and whilst it’s easy to be wise after the event, he’s getting paid £150,000 a week to not make mistakes like this, and we are not.
Carrick and Schweinsteiger were never going to be a match for Arsenal’s midfield, and choosing not to play Schneiderlin proved to be costly. Personally, I would have had Phil Jones in there today as well, either playing alongside Smalling, and moving Blind into midfield, or as a midfield enforcer to prevent Arsenal from dictating the play.
Sanchez made Darmian look like a Championship right back, and completely ran him ragged. Van Gaal should have played Valencia at right back to try and match up to Sanchez for pace and power, with Darmian on the left where he could have potentially coped better and better than Young did in that position.
Memphis is still to perform in the Premier League, and I would have preferred Young to Memphis in that role, as he would have provided extra cover when Arsenal were coming forward.
Ferguson rarely got it wrong against the Gunners. He would always play 2 tough midfielders who basically stopped Arsenal’s free-flowing football, and attack them with pace and power on the break. We didn’t have the enforcers on the pitch, and we don’t have any pace or power other than our 19 year old saviour Martial. It’s amazing to think that a player no one had heard of, one that United got ridiculed for buying on deadline day, is now our great hope when we go into games.
I write honestly, and I have not been a fan of LVG since the very early days of his reign. His style of football bores me, it’s not the Man United way. Whilst I appreciate they are in the results business, I don’t believe we have a prayer of winning the league or the Champions League whilst he’s in charge playing this sideways/backwards football that’s so easy for the opposition to defend against.
United have played mainly mediocre opposition this season, and just about got over the line in most cases. Today was the real first test against a quality side, and we failed miserably. United played with the pace of a motorway tailback on the M6 – so slow and predictable that they rarely troubled the Arsenal back four. Why Van Gaal didn’t have the speed of Martial testing Metersacker is another question he should be asked, as he spent the afternoon on the right side rather than the left, where his pace would surely have got the better of the big German centre-back.
Where do United go from here? Watching yesterday suggested that if any team sets up to play against us with power and pace, we will be in serious trouble. City and Palace come to mind as two teams that play this way, both of whom are on the fixture list before October is out. How we miss the likes of Keane, Scholes, Giggs and Ronaldo. Of course it’s not so easy to find them, but those are the type of players we need in our team if United are to be great again; power, pace, accuracy, great first touches and movement off the ball, unlike a certain Wayne Rooney, who I am sorry to say is not worth a starting place in our team right now if the squad is fully fit.
I have serious concerns. I hope I am very wrong, but I think we could well see a few more humiliations this season, and I for one would not be sorry to see LVG leave a year early, especially if the likes of Pep are available next May.
To make the day worse, Liverpool sacked Brendan and are sure to bring in a proven manager, most likely Jurgen Klopp, who, if given financial backing, is a very good bet to turn Liverpool’s fortunes around sooner rather than later.
One has to hope Van Gaal saw his mistakes today, sees the weaknesses in the team, and can also see that his style of football may be ok against the mid-table and below, but it isn’t going to bring home the trophies.