Was That The Worst ‘Performance’ You’ve Seen?

Manchester United (4) – (0) Arsenal
Eboue Sent Off (49′)
Old Trafford, Manchester

Well Arsenal just didn’t turn up.

A few days ago when I wrote the match preview I was questioning the importance of the game, and whether a defeat would actually be a bad thing. Winning would mean more fixtures at a time when Arsenal would hopefully be fighting for the Premier League and Champions League titles.

So it came to fruition with Arsene’s team selection, which included Justin Hoyte, Armand Traore, Nicklas Bendtner, Gilberto Silva and the recently returning Kolo and Eboue from the African Cup of Nations. A seemingly strongish side, although in reality Wenger started with only 4 players who would be considered in this seasons first eleven*

In comparison, United had around 7 or 8 players who would be considered to be first team players.

And ironically Jens Lehmann might not be the first choice goalkeeper this season but he was the only one who didn’t have a shocking performance and kept the score from being 7 or 8.

The performance I saw yesterday was possibly the worst I have seen in 20 years of watching Arsenal, and that would not be exaggerating. The performance was devoid of any motivation, passion, fight or even basic execution of our usual passing game.

Arsenal were there for the taking and Manchester United didn’t need any second invitations.

Clearly up for the fight after their surprise defeat in the Manchester Derby only 7 days earlier, United were quick from the off while Arsenal were sluggish, making basic errors and failing to string more than 5 passes together. Although the team wasn’t the strongest I was shocked at the lack of drive from the players – it really was appalling. It was as if the FA Cup didn’t matter at all. Arsene has stated that Arsenal’s priorities are elsewhere this season but unfortunately that attitude had obviously been transmitted to the players on the pitch. It was like the Carling Cup game against Spurs all over again.

It’s a strange feeling though, because even though Arsenal have played so called less important games in the past, I don’t think I’ve ever seen performances like against Spurs or United in the cups like I have witnessed this season. It doesn’t matter who has been selected to play and if the team has included reserves, the guys on the pitch have gone into the game with the right mind-set and played to a decent standard.

Arsene would have been better off playing the kids because at least they would given United a game and given 110%.

Despite all that though, I suppose the real concern is what that game will have on the rest of the season.

Has the win given United a boost after poor results against Spurs and Manchester City in the league? It would have been interesting to see what United would have done if they actually lost yesterday. It would be stupid to suggest that they would have collapsed but you can’t help thinking it would have put more pressure on them in the Premier League if they were dumped out of the cup.

The slightly positive thing is that after the battering in the Carling Cup against Spurs our response has been spot on, winning 4 games out of 4. Hopefully Arsenal can quickly forget the result and get their form back.

I guess we’ll see what the reaction is from the boys on Wednesday night.

* Based on a starting eleven of Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Hleb, Flamini, Fabregas, Rosicky, Van Persie & Adebayor. You could also argue Eduardo is now a first team player, but at the same time you could say Senderos’ run in the team puts him in the current first eleven because Toure has been out with the Ivory Coast.


10 thoughts on “Was That The Worst ‘Performance’ You’ve Seen?

  1. Very good article, balanced and well written. I totally agree, if not the worst performance certainly right up there. The game against spurs was also lacking in spirit. The difference between our best and worst performances is huge. In watching football for over 35 years I have never seen any team have such a big difference. Even though league results have been good it’s hard to enjoy because the quality varies a lot. Cesc has been off the boil since he returned from injury and is playing more like a 20 year old rather than the midfield general he is. To win the league I think we will need him back to his best.

  2. Tell you why you didn’t win yesterday, simple as this.


    he was awesome yesterday. he is the reason fabregas didn’t get you going. everytime fab got on the ball fletcher was there. I must say though, that even I was a little disgraced by Nani’s showboating when we were already winning the game. There was absolutely no need for it and im glad Fergie thinks the same. Was upset however by how the Arsenal players tried their best to break his legs.

    All in all, a great performance by United, and a terrible one from Arsenal. That’s only going to lead to one thing. A United win.

    nice article mike lad

  3. So the red faced has a team of world beaters.I hope they get chelsea in the qf/sf/f.then it will be Chelsea to win.Hitting four goals past a listless Arsenal is one thing.The thing to note is the mu players were given time and space two essential ingredients in the modern game.I doubt Chelsea would be be so accommodating.
    AW believed in the hype of his fringe players and did not buy anyone in the Jan window.The other leding managers have bought established players instead of some teenage sensation who could come to grief in two years time. Then it’s time wasted.
    All is not lost despite what the red faced and the pro manure media would have us believe.I believe the title is heading to ES barring a dramatic collapse by the gooners.

  4. this has to be a “one off”.i am a football fan and i know what the arsenal is capable of doing and we all can be rest assured that we will see a more purposeful and business minded arsenal on wednesday.had they thrashed the hugely indebted manure it would have meant one thing…an easier route 2d title.less worries for mr wenger so you’d expect more focus.the really are cursed to win the league now and you will be rational if you place ur money on them but that’s till April…yes April not MAY.

  5. The EPL is fast becoming like the Wrestling Bouts on TV – simulated entertainment. Arsene and team decide they were not interested in the FA cup and proceeded to walk around the park. But in so doing, the club pocketted millions from tickets and TV. Arsene then goes on air to say the players had an off day but in the locker room he is probably saying “good show”. ManU’s Ferguson was grateful for the accolade but he knows TV ratings will be up as fans believe in ManU again after last week’s embarassment. Can so much change in one game over one week. Its all simulated. Wake up guys – its hollywood taking over. Next up, Game 39 and that will really spin more money and more simulation.

  6. Very disappointing indeed. Wenger has to change his policies on buying players. if this is not done we’ll keep on being thumped. We need to buy world class players that can win tournaments if we claim to be one of the richest clubs! The gap between our 1st and 2nd team is too wide. Wenger is too complacent about winning tournaments. I’m not carried away with the fact that we’re on top of d league table. Even if we win it, these inherrent problems have to be resolved. The traores,hoytes,songs, denilsons may not give us any silverware.

  7. The game showed the real nature of Arsenal’s injury problems. If Arsene had a full squad to pick from he would have fielded a much stronger team.

    Look who was injured, not 100% or on leave – Clichy, Sagna, Diaby, Rosicky, Van Persie, Walcott, Song, Djourou, Senderos, Flamini, Adebayor, Fabregas… Saturday’s result was just waiting to happen.

    Hopefully we can bounce back on Wednesday night otherwise we’re in big trouble.


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