Manchester United’s inconsistent form in their top 4 chases continued on Saturday as the club lost 3-1 to fellow rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. Following a 4-0 mauling at the hands of Liverpool, the Red Devils did calm a few nerves with their 3-2 win against Norwich but Saturday’s dismal performance only pushed them further away from UCL spots on the PL table.
With club captain Harry Maguire having borne the brunt of criticisms for his poor defensive mistakes consistently, manager Ralf Rangnick decided to bench the Englishman for this crunch game.
But it looked to have had no effect as the team continued to defend poorly against Arsenal’s rapid attacks.
Raphael Varane and Alex Telles failed to clear the ball in the build-up to the first Arsenal goal scored by Nuno Tavares. Telles was once again the culprit as his foul on Bukayo Saka inside the penalty box allowed the Englishman to step up and put Arsenal 2-0 ahead on the night.
The United backline continued to struggle against the Arsenal attack led by young guns such as Saka, Odegaard and Nketiah.
Barring the mistakes that led to the opening two goals, the United players were even spotted by fans making a meal out of marking attacking players.
In a fan grab footage, Alex Telles and Jadon Sancho were spotted attempting to mark Nketiah for a set piece in a rather comical fashion.
When both players got in front of Nketiah to block off his access to a pass, the Arsenal striker simply walked away from the attempted block with neither of the United players realising the mistake.
Nketiah had an almost free pass to roam around the United box throughout the game and even got onto the scoresheet briefly before his effort was ruled out by VAR in the first half. The video ends with Sancho and Telles thinking they were marking Nketiah who by then was completely out of the frame.
This has not been the first time that a United player has been spotted displaying such simple errors which have proved too costly for the club’s successes this year. With new manager Erik Ten Hag set to take over at the end of the season, fans would be hoping that correcting such basic errors in play would be at the top of his agenda.