Manchester United were naïve and timid in defeat to Arsenal. It says a lot that two of the Reds’ three best players in the game were substitutes. The starters did not do enough.

Victor Lindelof

Lindelof led United’s defence. He played at right-centre-back and the support given to him by right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka was pathetic.

The England full-back lost Aubameyang twice at the far post and did the same with Bukayo Saka once. All in the first half. It left Lindelof with a mountainous task to do. He was up for the challenge and has looked very confident in the last fortnight.

A couple of key defensive interventions were impressive and he stepped out of defence to take the pressure off on a few occasions.

He was the best of a bad bunch out of the starting line-up alongside Luke Shaw who had an equally good game.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Thomas Partey of Arsenal tackles Donny Van De Beek of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 01, 2020 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.
(Photo by Phil Noble – Pool/Getty Images)

Donny van de Beek

United’s summer signing came off the bench again. He helps to retain possession for Solskjaer’s team and his movement is fantastic. Had he had more time to impact the game, things might have been different.

 

Van de Beek is an efficient player. He does a lot with very little. United don’t have another player like him.

Nemanja Matic

Matic completed the job that Fred and McTominay were both there to do, but better. He offered some creativity in attack, which can’t always be said of the Serbian international.

A couple of nice one-twos played in or on the edge of the box gave United a small chance late on.

He’s been edged out of the team in favour of McTominay and Fred recently but showed why he is a more reliable option in the face of hard pressing from the opposition.

He adds energy from the back – as surprising as that might sound for United’s oldest midfield option. That could have been key had he played the full game.

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