Manchester United vs Arsenal Summary
Sigh…such an awful performance at Old Trafford once again this Premier League campaign. Just one point from four games has left United 15th in the League with 7 points from 6 games. It is hard not to be reactionary with a result like this. Arsenal were there for the taking and in theory the formation United set up with should have worked. Nevertheless, poor and frustrated performances from players in the attacking play failed to cause Arsenal many problems as one error sealed the result. Many fans have called for Ole’s head after his 100th game in charge. While I am not there, I think United need to win their next two games or things could get ugly behind the scenes.
I gave my player ratings the day after the match on our YouTube channel. However, on review I have made a few changes to what I said before:
Manchester United vs Arsenal Player Ratings:
David de Gea 6.5/10
It just really sums up this game that David de Gea had nothing to do but pick the ball out of the net after the penalty. He was faultless but relatively undisturbed. There were chances for Arsenal but most over or wide. He had a decent game. I hope he is rested midweek and in the right mindset for Everton. He has had three bad games against them in a row…
Aaron Wan-Bissaka 7/10
Almost faultless defensively. Had very little to worry about most of the game. Was caught out once but it did not lead to a goal. In the diamond formation, he is required to get further forward and cause problems which he failed to do. In this aspect, United needed more from him as Arsenal and their back five swamped the attackers at times.
Victor Lindelof 8/10
Victor Lindelof had another great game. One of the few that did. Got spun once by Saka but recovered almost instantly. Solid, composed and tried to push the team forward with his passing. MOTM…again.
Harry Maguire 6.5/10
While a case could be made for Maguire to be MOTM for his defending. It’s at the other end as to why his rating is lower. He missed two big chances to take the lead. Both at 0-0. This is something United fans have been critical of Maguire as he gets into good positions but fails to take the chances from set pieces. A good display defensively but could have won United the game in attack and Arsenal were nowhere near him both times.
Luke Shaw 5/10
He had trouble with Willian and Bellerin which is where the goal came from but not really his fault. Mostly he defended very well and I was impressed with that side. However, his attacking play was mostly woeful. He was on most of the set pieces and was required to get the ball into the box from live play too. Most the crosses he put in failed to get past the first man. Telles may be ill and unable to play but if he were, this could have been a very different result.
He was tasked with the anchor position in the diamond. Initially, I thought this would work very well as he can break up play and shift it quicky onto Bruno or Pogba in advanced positions. Fred failed to do this. He often gave the ball away cheaply, either with poor passes or dallying on the ball. He committed many fouls and was rightly subbed off for Matic.
Scott McTominay 2/10
Looked out of place for most the game. Kept wanting to play in the anchor role and never pushed forwards. I understand why he didn’t come off as the counter for Arsenal posed a threat still but really did not need him and Matic on the pitch. Even with this there is no need for scapegoating him as some fans have done.
Paul Pogba 2/10
He was not the worst player on the pitch. Let’s get that clear. But it was a very bad performance nonetheless. He was unable to get past Partey who was brilliant and struggled to impact the game. Except for one moment of course. I am one of his biggest fans and want him to stay until he retires. But he cannot shell out good cameos and then stutter in a game like this. I hope he bounces back against Everton as I expect him to be rested midweek.
Bruno Fernandes 3/10
Not great from Bruno. He seemed to get disinterested in waiting for the ball in the number 10 position and came deep to receive it. Aiming to play long balls to Rashford and Greenwood. I don’t know whether he decided or Ole asked him to do so but he needs to be more patient. He has to stay in an advanced role because it seems clear that when neither Van De Beek nor Mata are on the pitch, no one else will do it. Was taken off but retrospectively, I would have played him in Pogba’s position and taken him off instead.
Mason Greenwood 4/10
He made some good runs and forced a decent save off Leno but not much else. Just as frustrated as the rest of the side. He made two good turns and could/should have got Gabriel sent off because of them. Mike Dean saw otherwise…somehow.
Marcus Rashford 3/10
The drought against Arsenal continues for Rashford. No goals against the Gunners since his debut. He was almost absent today and would have got a lower score if not for two bright moments; the counter attacking runs that forced Arsenal into a lot of tactical fouls and the stunning pass into Greenwood. Need more from him this week.
Nemanja Matic 7/10
Did above and beyond what was expected of him. Because McTominay sat deep and did not drive forward, Matic was almost forced into doing it. To be fair he did it well and should have won a penalty and Gabriel’s second (or third) yellow card. Competition is getting the best out of him after a stuttering start to the campaign and I do expect him to start midweek and who knows? Maybe on Saturday too.
Donny Van De Beek 7/10
With no one really playing the number 10 role, Donny came in and had a true impact. He created much better link up play and offered a big chance for the equaliser twice. I think he has to start midweek and against Everton.
Edinson Cavani N/A
I cannot remember him doing anything. Still looks a bit unfit but I’d like to see him start on Wednesday.
Man of the Match: Victor Lindelof
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 5/10
The diamond was the right call. I will not back down from this position. With Arsenal’s two midfielders it made sense to swamp them in the midfield and push Greenwood and Rashford wide. However the fact that McTominay would not get forward, and Bruno got frustrated and dropped back meant it didn’t work. So Ole changed to a 4-2-3-1 and that seemed to work as well, except Pogba had to track Bellerin which cost United the game. I think if he had taken off Fred for Cavani or even Pogba who was having a bad game. This could have been different as Rashford would have been wide, Pogba would have been deeper and Bruno could get on the ball more in an advanced role.
Mostly he got the tactics right but a few calls needed to be different and he has to be ruthless right now. His job is on the line and on Sunday, the players failed to perform for him. He needs two wins before the international break and then United’s run is, on paper, easier but could prove difficult with all the teams involved likely to drop deep.