United Review: We Lost.

Arsenal 1 – 3 Manchester United

My original post was succinct and to the point; one word. It summed up the frustration at the result and the manner in which we conceded goals, particularly the third.

Injuries played their part; there’s no point berating the performance, if that’s what you want to do, without recognising the impact of losing two central defenders at key stages of the game.

And then, of course, if that’s not good enough you can always blame Mesut Ozil for the defeat, the assassination of JFK, and hellfire, why not chuck in the sacking of Rome while you are at it. Or the sacking of Arsene Wenger, if you want to keep it football-related.

I’m not the German’s biggest fan but even I’d say it’s a tough gig for the flak he is copping from last night’s game.

The reality is that we lost in familiar circumstances. Concede two quick-fire goals and then a third while we chase the game. We’ve been here before with United and I suspect it’s a crime scene we will revisit in the future. But by all the hallowed souls in Valhalla, that doesn’t make last night any easier to stomach.

But let’s get the injuries out of the way first.

I think they weren’t big injuries for Sokratis [his ankle]. Maybe Laurent Koscielny is going to hospital to [analyse] what injury he has. Maybe he’s broken [his cheek or jaw] but I hope not.

Unai Emery isn’t hopeful on Laurent Koscielny’s injury

Which gets that out of the way. Essentially, we’re buggered for the trip to Manchester City unless Sokratis can recover. Mustafi and Mavropanos; the M&Ms against Cardiff makes sense. However, against Aguero and co, the prospect of that pairing fills me with more than a little dread. And Reggae Reggae M&Ms aren’t a big seller.

A Good Day To Bury Bad News

The club, of course, is disappointed by the cup exit but it buried the 2018 accounts being issued to the suits relief.

We return to our scheduled programming which is essentially last night’s match. There were some good parts to the performance. We started each half brightly, particularly the second – no surprise – and were unfortunate when Romero saved well from Ramsey.

But the damage was done. Alexis opened the scoring from a tight angle after leaving the defence standing. It’s a shame that among all the pantomime crowd boos that nobody though to shout “BEHIND YOU!!!” as he left a static defensive line in his wake.

A sharp intake of breath later, Lingaard made it 2 – 0 as we were caught with our footballing y-fronts around our ankles. It’s Arsenal and we do like to do things the hard way.

And we did try to recover the situation. Aubameyang tapped in from two yards just before the interval and the team talks changed a little.

At this point, I’d originally written that it changed the post from “Bollocks” to requiring 749 more words. As I write, I think my original idea was the best.

Ramsey’s header promised a blood and thunder cup-tie. Sadly, it proved more thud and blunder. Koscielny felt the full force of Lukaku’s heel on his jaw and his night was over. Talk about stemming the flow of blood and Xhaka’s gestures made it seem as if a stud had punctured the skin.

In my mind’s eye, Koscielny was going to stand up and resemble a Connect 4 frame. Thankfully not.

And Then It All Went Wrong

The third goal was blunderful to concede. Lacazette lost possession on the edge of the United box and Tubby Shaw strolled upfield. Paul Pogba’s standing is improving to the extent that reports show him striding majestically through the midfield before shooting.

The reality is nobody bothered to challenge him. The Frenchman could have used a Zimmer frame and still got his shot away so porous was our defensive structure. Matters were made worse when Cech parried the ball into Martial’s path. That’s the unmarked Anthony Martial’s path. He didn’t miss.

Cech should have turned the ball aside, he will know that. He will also know his prospects of more first-team action this season are beyond slight. Leno is Number One in the Premier League and probably Europe as well.

So, the FA Cup adventure is over and like the League Cup, ended at home by a close rival. Odds on us drawing Chelsea in the Europa League, anyone?

’til Tomorrow.

20 thoughts on “United Review: We Lost.

  1. Yes, we lost; we should move on focusing on the loans we need, and towards winning PL matches Europa league matches; replacing Chelski in top4 is more than important than progressing to 5th round of the FA cup; we should not have fielded all our first XI . The injuries to Sokratis and Kos proves this. Well, that is history now.

  2. Great review Yogi

    The injuries definitely did not help our defensive solidarity. We will never really know if the result might have been different if the injuries had not occurred. The way the game played out is very familiar. I have to admit that I firmly believed for years that our defensive struggles could all be traced to Arsene Wenger but for some reason that part of our indentity has not changed since Arsene left. I still want to believe in Emery but its hugely concerning that we have added 4 new defensive players but he has not yet found a way to make us less vulnerable to counter attacks by now. I would have thought improving the defensive should have been his first priority as a new manager. However, I guess we have to give him time a few transfer windows and see what happens.

  3. theskywalker

    > we should not have fielded all our first XI

    Disagree completely. We had to because of the opposition. If we’d fielded reserves, we would have

  4. I thought Wenger was constraining Steve Bould from doing his defensive coaching. Is he allowed to do his work now at all or even after his work, the poor outcome achieved is beyond him?

  5. Now Man Ure have rediscovered their appetite even a Chelsea blow up means we’re unlikely to make Top Four anyway, so I’d like to see us have a real dart at the Europa League.

    Last night’s game was very sobering. The reality is that we are most certainly the 6th best team in England right now , with a large & expensive gap between us & the teams above us.

    On the plus side , we’re still (mostly) good to watch , have a handful of really talented players & can give anyone a game on our day.

    Unlike the mid 80’s when 6th or 7th was also our default finishing position , a talented group of youngsters & a strict new manager won’t changed much without a pike of cash….so over to you KSE.

  6. Regarding Ozil I think it’s preposterous to suggest that somehow he was at fault for the result. I can’t imagine anyone would make that assumption. Mesut did nothing wrong while he was on the pitch.

    Ozil came on yesterday and played exactly the way he has for majority of games the last couple of seasons and I think his lack of impact is by far the biggest reason that Emery has dropped him down the pecking order. The idea that its a personality conflict or Emery trying to stamp his authority on the club is over thinking. Mesut’s goal and assist totals in league games in the last 4 seasons has been 25, 17, 12 and this season 4. Clearly his productivity and ability to influence the games has been fading for several years. Every player in history eventually hits the downward side of his career arc and when that happens his ability to influence the game fades and he often starts to have a lot more niggling injuries and illnesses. When a player who is a pure flair player like Ozil starts to fade and he no longer brings flair to the team then there is no reason for Emery to have him in the lineup.

  7. @ YW
    Manure squad is very good, it was Jose who prevented from performing. With that good quality strikers, mid-fielders and defenders, and Ole trying to show what he can do in a FA game, there was not going to be a win for us as we knew we could not match the quality of their squad. Then why risk our first team players, all of them after all in a FA game I do not accept the argument that because of the opposition, we should field our strong squad in a FA game. Watching the game sitting at the Emirates, a lot of us felt the same way within minutes of the kick off.

  8. Like someone mentioned Õzil comes on Ramsey stopped playing; Õzil should have been a starter and we could have probably scored more goals. It’s just the FA cup and so I don’t feel bad.

    The game in April is a 3point challenge for us and we must win that game. We have less distractions and I am glad about that. We can now focus on the league and the Europa.

    I have to say this now, its best Iwobi and Mhkitaryan are sold, they lack the cutting edge and they often don’t pull the trigger when necessary. Its better we get wingers who can dribble, shoot and track back defensively.

  9. theskywalker

    OGS took that straight from the Fergie manual. Or from instruction ,I’m hearing.
    Invite us on and hit us on the break.
    I’m surprised at your negativity tho, coz I thought we looked okay with it until Papa went off. Our upfield energy being much better than the Wenger days.
    Shame Emery didn’t react to it by telling everyone to ease off. Turn it into a Bore for 80 minutes ,then have a 10 minute free for all at the end.

    Our porcelain army are crumbling . We are better off out of the Cup . I’m more upset by the injuries than the result . They both look superficial enough, but WE know how these things go.

  10. lari03 :- How much are you aiming at getting for them ?
    Those two alone will not provide enough to buy in the players we need. We are pretty much hamstrung until next season when the sponsor deal kicks in . KSE will not dip into their LA Rams project so we are on our own.
    £ 25 to £30 million for the two of them and wage saves which will go to any replacement that’s better who will want a big deal to come to a team on the edge of Europe in more ways than one.
    it’s about the kids now to supplement the squad . We are not able to buy so we need to promote and watch them make the mistakes that we know they will whilst we wait for them to come of footballing age.

  11. lari03,

    Indeed. Where did Ramsey go?
    Diffrent strokes. Ozil did play the ball nicely into spaces, but his closing down space is just abject. Application more than attitude. I’m beginning to think he just doesn’t know How to press.

  12. Despite some pre-game optimism, this game went the way I secretly thought it would. Would the result have been different had Jose been in charge? I think so, but, as they say, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas. So, it’s back to the drawing board with all the optimism of the 22 game run (well, the earlier part of it) gone and the sense of the pre-Emery blues back in full bore. What’s to be done about it all is the question for Arsenal now. Nothing to impact this season, I think.

  13. remember the 22 match streak – when we were ‘hot’ and Utd were, well, manure and there for the taking, we couldn’t beat them at their place…..

    Since then, they’ve had a run of relatively easy fixtures which built momentum and confidence, and won some tougher games….. and at the same time, our run stuttered to an end and we’ve not looked good..

    So last night not a surprise.

    As to the ‘pressing’ game – or whatever else we are supposed to be doing… these are professional athletes on megabucks who’ve been coached for 5-6 months in how the new manager wants them to play – so why can they they not learn/do ?

    How/why Tottenham and Chelsea results/performances.

    Pile of pony

  14. @ferkov
    “Our porcelain army are crumbling . We are better off out of the Cup . I’m more upset by the injuries than the result ”
    You have echoed the gist of my first post When we have injuries mounting and the first team players are going down, this being just a 4th round FA cup game, why subject the remaining fit players to unwanted risks. Our focus should have been the PL and EL games ahead.
    I am not negative at all, when we at the Emirates watched the same mistakes creeping in -Papa’s injury being only incidental. It was always just a matter of minutes, before we conceded a couple of goals. Sure it happened.
    No need for Ole to get any instructions. It has been well known since the last few seasons under Wenger, that our team is vulnerable to counter attack, and nothing seemed to have changed under Emery, recently; it appeared yesterday: it was as if Wenger was at the dug out! Your comment of “ease off” points to this . Forward -rushing at times with acres of space leaving behind, losing possession at crucial times etc..Cech’s mistake simply compounded the problems.
    We were not going to win,and hence my argument about the wisdom of throwing in so many first team players. It was always that the mercenary Sanchez would score, just to pretend that he is not a monumental failure at Manure. I would have enjoyed our younger players running freely and giving him and others bother. I am not disappointed that we are out of the 5th round. It indeed helps us to focus on other more important games.

  15. Guys there are two problems and the coach is to blame- injuries and selection. We are losing players in big games: Man City – Maitland Niles, Man U – Holding, Spurs – Mkhitaryan, Chelsea – Bellerin and Man u – Kolscieny and Sokratis. Why are our defenders getting these bad injuries against big teams?? There is something wrong with our training!! On selection, why is our most creative and expensive player sidelined by Emery, it doesn’t make sense. Unai is acting like Mourinho. Ozil must be our number 10 & you will see the best of Auba and Laccazette. Noone creates more chances than Ozil in our team. Remember Wenger played Sanogo and left Podolski cold on the bench until fans got wild against him!! There is no improvement since Wenger left!! Don’t buy that stupid excuse about buying players. We lost points to Southampton, West Ham, Wolves, Brighton and Hove, Crystal Palace, do you think these teams have better players than Arsenal?? Mourinho gave the world the same stupid excuse, look at the team now!!! It’s all down to coaching and selection. If we don’t finish in the top 4 & fail in Europa, it’s because of Unai sidelining Ozil!!! Iwobi and AMN cannot play in midfield ahead of Ramsey and Ozil!!!

  16. @VaMugariwa I agree with you. Seeing fans leaving the Stadium 25 minutes early, reminded us, the Wenger period, and it was indeed Wenger game. Ferguson ‘s tactics of counter attack that Ole employs is known and still we were suckered into it. It appears during the last few games as if Steve Bould had had no input during training just like in the Wenger period. Things are drifting away. Emery should pause and think what he is doing before it is too late, and season ends the same way at Manure under David Moyes.

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