Wenger and the Gunners exorcise the Red Devils

AFC-MUFCArsène Wenger and his Arsenal team had done their homework to fight their own demons, after Wenger stated that his team will rise back from the 2nd defeat in the CL in midweek, and they did so brilliantly as a hapless United team watched their own destruction at the Emirates Stadium. The high paced tempo imposed by the Gunners from the beginning of the match proved to be too much to handle for the Red Devils, and United had barely got a touch of the ball that they were already trailing on the 6th minute. The high pressing set up by Arsenal pinned United at the back, and Özil delivered a low cross inside the box after Ramsey picked him in the box, and Sánchez rushed past his defender to score with a clever backheel, while De Gea was already on the ground in anticipation of collection the incoming cross. The game had barely restarted that United were 2-goal down, this time Walcott feeding an unmarked Özil in the box, and the latter curled in the ball into De Gea’s right hand corner, with the keeper rooted to his line as he watched on desperately. United were stunned, but more was to come from the Gunners, as Sánchez completed his double this time with a powerful shot from the edge of the box, and yet again, De Gea was left helpless despite an attempted dive to reach the ball. United could have been further behind but Ramsey’s shot went well wide. United on the other hand failed to produce anything meaningful, with their slow paced passing football allowing Arsenal to get back and defend in an organized way and prevent any dangerous attack, while still remaining alert for any counter-attacking opportunities which could allow them to increase their lead. The only significant effort for United came near half-time, where Martial controlled brilliantly in the box, but failed to get the better of Cech as the latter made himself big and kept out the shot with his left foot.

Van Gaal proceeded with 2 changes at half time by sending on Fellaini and Valencia, but yet again, despite seeing much of the ball, United did not cause any danger to Arsenal’s back line, and instead could have been further behind as Giroud shot straight at De Gea, and in added time, Oxlade-Chamberlain saw the crossbar keep out his attempt after De Gea was once again well beaten by the winger, but it mattered little as Arsenal went on to enjoy their 3-0 success, while Van Gaal and Co. were left red-faced with the collective failure shown by United, with Rooney may be showing he’s not worth captaining the team given there was no reaction whatsoever from the Red Devils which could at least get them back in the game, and Rooney himself looked dejected throughout the game. United looked as if they were playing in a slumber, not knowing what’s happening around them. Also, Van Gaal’s philosophy of keeping the ball, playing at a slow pace, may be outdated in modern football, where teams play with a much higher tempo, breaching opposition defenses with quick movements around the box and playing a more direct football, rather than kicking long balls forward, or a player keeping it for several seconds while waiting for a teammate to propose an eventual passing move. The Red Devils have failed their first big test in the league, and their next outings could be problematic as well, as they will travel to Everton after the international break, then host the noisy neighbours who are on a high after thumping Newcastle last night, and who claimed the first spot in the table with their impressive win.

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