Review & Ratings: Solskjaer's United were lacklustre, out of ideas, tactically poor and uninspiring in 2-0 defeat away to Arsenal


Manchester United fell to their first defeat of 2020 with Arsenal scoring twice at the Emirates on New Year’s Day. United seemed to lack everything a professional football club should have from the very first minute of the match. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to start inspiring this team to achieve as two wins after a defeat is not progress, it is two steps forward and on step back.

Arsenal started well in the match showing more desire to get an early goal. That came in the eighth minute through Nicolas Pepe after Sead Kolasinac, who was booked in the third minute, played the ball into Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, then playing in Alexandre Lacazette but the ball was deflected into Pepe who finished well beating David De Gea and putting his team 1-0 up. United needed to defend a lot better.

Arsenal doubled their lead in the 43rd minute of the match after Harry Maguire gave away a corner. Pepe took the corner aiming for Lacazette at the near post. De Gea could only parry the ball away from goal, then the loose ball bounced off a United defender where Sokratis Papastathopoulos was waiting, smashing the ball into the roof of the net. United looked dejected, out of ideas and looking to avoid a big defeat.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one conceded twice in the first half against Arsenal. Despite United's defence being reinforced in the summer, it is still leaking goals and Phil Jones has hardly played this season. When it doesn't work for United, they seem to give up.


29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

I don't think this was his worst game or his best. In the first half, United were predominately poor but some players tried to change that in the second half - Wan-Bissaka being one of them, getting forward at times and aiming to get United to create more in advanced positions. However, Arsenal were defending their 2-0 lead as it means three points for them with United slipping down the table again.


2 Victor Lindelof

I worry about Lindelof. Last season, he played well but this season, he has seemingly only raised his game in the big games but failed to do so against Arsenal. It is good that Eric Bailly is back in training as options are needed. Both Bailly and Tuanzebe should get opportunities when both fit and ready to go.


5 Harry Maguire

The £80 million summer signing looked average against Arsenal. He really needs to be offering the performances that are expected from him. He became better in the second half but United ere already out of the game.


23 Luke Shaw

The left-back was outplayed in his position by Pepe against Arsenal. This is why Williams should have started. I have little faith in Shaw when he lacks the ability to raise his game when pressed.


31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian was very slow on the ball against Arsenal, which was something holding the rest of the team behind. If he wants to leave this month, let him go. He was replaced in the 81st minute by Mata, at 2-0 down this was United's saviour.


17 Fred

Fred played well against Arsenal but you could see he was not comfortable with Matic, presumably because of his slowness in the centre of the midfield. Playing with McTominay, Fred has risen in stature but he cannot do everything by himself. United need depth in the midfield and need to buy this month to salvage something this season.


Review & Ratings: Solskjaer's United were lacklustre, out of ideas, tactically poor and uninspiring in 2-0 defeat away to Arsenal

The Welshman had a good chance on goal in the second half, seemingly seeing a space between the goalkeeper and the near post, seeing that effort mopped up by the Arsenal keeper. He may not have been the live wire in the team in this match as United did not seem up for the challenge of Arsenal. He was replaced by Greenwood in the 58th minute.


14 Jesse Lingard

I would like to see this player succeed but he has been terrible of late. Granted his personal life has many problems at the minute but that does not mean he gets an easy ride in the team when playing this way. He was indecisive against Arsenal, which caused many problems on the attack with United lacking anything to pressure the Gunners in the first half. I can't think of much Lingard did in the second half to aid the team before he was replaced by Pereira in the 58th minute.


10 Marcus Rashford

The top scorer for the club but could not do anything to get one over this Arsenal team at the Emirates. The players


9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman did not do a lot against Arsenal. A true striker should be able to lead the line and cause some problems in the box for the opposition. Martial does not do that, or at least didn't against Arsenal. Granted, a lack of creativity is a major factor at the club - no excuses for Martial though.



11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced James 58'. The 18-year-old has been getting involved in the game since he replaced James and got himself into the box unmarked at times but was not played the ball. There is nothing he can do about that other than to let his teammates know. Arsenal seem to have uncovered a massive weakness of United's - the ability to play as a team.


15 Andreas Pereira

Replaced Lingard 58'. Had a chance on goal as soon as he got on the pitch, it did not result in a goal though. He's shown more than Lingard had in 58 minutes by that point.


8 Juan Mata

Replaced Matic 81'. Came on late in the game. At 2-0 down I could not see what he could bring. To be fair though, in added time be played a blinding ball into the box for Rashford but got nothing from it.


Goals: Nicolas Pepe 8′, Sokratis Papastathopoulos 43′


Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Matic (Mata 81′), Fred; James (Greenwood 58′), Lingard (Pereira 58′), Rashford; Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Jones, Young, Williams

Bookings: Sead Kolasinac 3′, Bukayo Saka 82′

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