LONDON, NOV 2
These aren’t happy days at the great club Manchester United. Having gone down to Arsenal by the only goal of the match, they have failed to win any of their opening four home league games this season for the first time in 48 years.
Arsenal’s first league win at Old Trafford in 14 years came the day United got the sad news that their legendary former player and a club director Sir Bobby Charlton was diagnosed with dementia, the disease that claimed the life of his World Cup winning brother Jack only three months ago. Added to that was the demise, from dementia, just two days ago of Nobby Stiles, a former United great and also a World Cup winner in the same team as the two Charlton brothers.
United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who seems to have multiple problems to sort out with the poor performances of his team said: “Too many things that can go wrong went wrong for us. In the first half there were no tackles, no fighting. We never turned up in the first half. Home or away doesn’t really matter now because of the absence of crowds. You have to create atmosphere yourself but we were passive, we couldn’t get the intensity and tempo in our game. We weren’t at the races.”
Former United captain, Roy Keane at the match said: “Ole will lose his job working with this group of players. The pressure will now be building the longer this goes on. They’re just drifting. I’m not convinced with these players. I don’t see any leaders out there from the experienced players, I’m really worried for United. Like Nobby Stiles, heart of a lion, I don’t see it out there.”
The vital goal came in the 69th minute when Willian picked up the ball on the right and passed to Hector Bellerin. Paul Pogba went with Bellerin but not with enough commitment. Despite being on the wrong side of the player he tried to make a tackle but only clipped Bellerin. The penalty was taken by the usually prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who, in sending the goalkeeper the wrong way, ended a run of five games without a goal.
Had Arsenal not missed so many chances United would have faced a heavy defeat. Arsenal’s best chance to take the lead came in the 37th minute when Aubameyang slipped a pass to Alexandre Lacazette in front of goal and the latter took a huge swing but missed the ball.