Just when you think this unpredictable season cannot possibly provide any more drama, along comes another intriguing story.
Arsenal look like they’ve done it again. Their capitulation at Old Trafford was embarrassing, pitiful and ultimately their most painful defeat to Utd for many years – this time round, you felt like they had their best chance in a decade to get their hands back on the Premier League trophy.
Wenger seems incapable of rallying his men for the big, title-swinging occasions. Arsenal are buckling under the weight of expectation once again, world class talents like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are failing to perform and the defensive fragilities that have haunted the Gunner’s for years are there for all to see.
The cracks in Arsenal’s title challenge are growing wider.
One glance at the injury-riddled United line-up and you would have thought Louis Van Gaal’s men – rather boys – should have been a breezy 3 points for Arsenal’s line-up of superstars. The opposite was true.
Teenage sensation Rashford dispatched two goals in three minutes while two more debutants added insult to injury for the Gunners at Old Trafford. Louis Van Gaal has given five of his youth players debuts in the past week.
United were a patchwork side and yet showed a wonderful spirit born out of the young players. Arsenal, despite their reputation for developing youth players, were lame and timid by comparison.
The first half was all about United. They blitzed Arsenal as Rashford’s pace and energy repeatedly stretched Wenger’s defence. Centre halves Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny are both undeniably strong individually, but as a pairing with little experience together, they looked exposed during every United attack.
Going into the half-time break, Arsenal miraculously found themselves only 2-1 down. The travelling Arsenal fans might have been expecting a reaction after the restart, but it did not materialise – not even close.
If Wenger gave some form of rousing speech at half-time, it clearly didn’t work… and hasn’t worked on the big game occasions for as long as many Arsenal fans care to remember.
Arsenal bottled it pure and simple, their performance was pathetic. Sanchez looks knackered after spending last summer dramatically leading Chile to Copa America victory; there were to be no repeat theatrics… Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin looked dead on their feet.
Arsenal are now 5 points off the top with 9 games to go and could see their title hopes disappear completely at North-London rivals Tottenham next week.