Injuries, suspensions and our woeful defence were the winners for United on the day, as the Red Devils ran rampant through our depleted and very thin looking squad scoring a whopping 8 goals.
Welbeck started the scoring followed by Ashley Young with the first of two great curling shots. Rooney grabbed a hat-trick from two free-kicks and a penalty where in between Park and Nani added goals. Walcott and Van Persie scored to prevent the match from being a complete and utter rout.
Granted we had 8 first-team players injured or suspended and you only had to look at the starting line-up to see how this match would pan out with the likes of Jenkinson and Coquelin, making his premier league debut, in the team against the likes of Nani, Rooney and Young. It was men against boys.
I am all for belief in the players, but there is no way that 18 and 19 year-olds should bear the burden of trying to win at Old Trafford when there is no experience or leadership in the team. Robin van Persie cannot be expected the to direct midfield and defence, we need strong leadership in order to give confidence and direction to our up-and-coming youngsters.
Now we come to defence, a defence that lacks depth. There is no doubt we are strong when we have Vermaelen and Sagna in the team, but you only have to look at the performance of their replacements to see our back four are in total disarray without our two solid defenders. All four had horrible positioning in the match, losing their players on multiple occasions and young Jenkinson is clearly not ready to to face good opposition after a dismal display.
- Wenger Responds To Danny Welbeck Dive Controversy
- Arsenal Learn Their Europa League Quarter Final Opponents
- [Match Highlights] Arsenal 3-1 AC Milan – All the Goals & Best Bits
Many will say it is Wenger’s fault, but I feel he was very much forced into the actions he took for the match, but there is no doubt the team needs strengthening. I recently received a comment saying I am to critical of Arsenal and should get in behind them and believe, but there are clear shortcomings in the Arsenal team that Wenger/the board (the dirty profit-hungry board) could rectify with the £80m-90m they have at their disposal, as well as proper wage restructuring. Am I wrong to want Arsenal to return to their former glory? Arsene definitely knows these shortcomings if you read below.
on whether he has had a worst game as manager of Arsenal:
You don’t think like that after a game like this. It is terribly painful but you do not compare your pain. You have pain and that is it. I feel it was under very special circumstances. We have played three games in the Premier League and two Champions League games. It is not a time to make a balance of the whole season.
Of course it hurts, it’s humiliating, but you could see that we had not recovered physically in the second half from Wednesday night. We were short in some areas, that is for sure. They have class and they punished us. It was 3-1 at half-time and I think that was harsh against us. We missed a penalty, we had a chance to get back to 3-2. We tried desperately to get back but we opened ourselves up and were punished. Their finishing was great today.
on planning for reinforcements:
I am very open if we can find the right players. We have the money to sign players. If we find players who can strengthen our team then we will do it. But I am not the only one to work on the case, we have 20 people who are working on that. If we do not do it, it is because we don’t find them. We have plenty of players out today, too many players missing. We do not have the squad to compete when we have this many players out. At the moment, we have not found the solutions to our problems outside. When you look at today, you cannot predict how many players we have out. We did not expect to have Wilshere out, Diaby out, Gervinho out, Vermaelen out and Gibbs out.
on the wage structure at the Club:
It is difficult to find excuses after a game like that. Wages-wise, of course we are behind the other teams.
on whether he is close to bringing anyone in:
We are close to signing a striker at the moment but we are still looking for a midfielder and a defender.
on whether experience is needed:
Yes but it is difficult when you lose 8-2. It is better when you don’t talk as much but it hurts and it looks like you are looking for excuses. We have to sort out our problems that we have in the squad.
on criticism directed at him:
I am in a public job and I have to accept that. I try to make the right decisions for the Club and I will continue to do that. The players we have sold are players I brought to the Club. If you look at the 15 years I have been at the Club, I have brought in some good players. We have played three games in the Premier League, give me more time before saying that I have got it completely wrong. There were patches in the game where we had quality. I feel we collapsed physically more than anything else today.
Jenkinson Koscielny Djourou Trarore
Walcott Van Persie (c) Arshavin
Wojciech Szczesny | 4.0: Made some good saves to stop Young and Cleverly from adding to the scoresheet, but was partly to blame for the opening goal. I sympathise for the Pole considering defence was unlocked way too easily on way too many occasions.
Carl Jenkinson | 2.0: Dismal display from the new recruit. Looked very much out his depth and made many mistakes before his eventual departure for a second booking.
Laurent Koscielny | 3.5: Looked okay early on with good interceptions, although eventually could not handle United’s movement losing his man on too many occasions.
Johan Djourou | 3.5: Like Koscielny, he could handle United’s movement as he too lost his man allowing time and space on the ball. Simply out-muscled by Welbeck for the opening goal.
Armand Traore | 4.0: The back-up left back was horrible with positioning although he was often was in 2 v 1 situations, not helping circumstances. Made some good runs in the opening half.
Francis Coquelin | 4.5: A player who has not featured in pre-season and makes his debut against the Red Devils. Showed glimpses of strength but struggled to influence midfield as you would expect. Should never have been expected to play though and was replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 62nd minute.
Tomas Rosicky | 4.0: Showed glimpses of brilliance with his quick pass to Theo for our first goal and his delicate chip for Van Persie, although he offered nothing on defence for the gunners.
Aaron Ramsey | 4.0: Composure and creativity was evident but he still is a little slow on the ball. I have been hoping match experience would aid him in this department, although things are looking unclear for the future.
Andrey Arshavin | 4.0: Made extremely rash challenges that should have seen him see red. He threatened now and then and wasn’t afraid to test De Gea with a few long-shots, but was his usual hot-and-cold self.
Theo Walcott | 5.0: Had little service in order to test Evra, but did score a goal from a tight angle. Conceded a penalty when he pushed Evra in the back and lacked decisiveness in front of goal.
Robin van Persie | 5.0: Should be held partly accountable after missing a penalty and not capitalising on a rebound midway into the first-half. Made no mistake with the second goal as his slammed the ball into the roof of the net, although was very much isolated at the front of the pitch for most of the game.
- Notable Substitutions
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 4.0: Showed glimpses of the faith Wenger has in him, but was largely anonymous as he chased the United players all over the pitch.