Five things we learned as Manchester United lose 2-0 to Arsenal

Manchester United’s 2020 got off to a terrible start at The Emirates.

Two goals conceded in the first half gave us too much to do in the second and Arsenal deserved their victory.

Here is a look at five things we learned from the defeat…

Shaw and Lingard should not have started

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got his selection wrong. It was a big call to pick Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard and neither player performed well.

Lingard looked bereft of confidence and should not have been playing ahead of an in form Andreas Pereira.

Luke Shaw did not deserve his place ahead of Brandon Williams and he was caught ball watching for Arsenal’s opening goal.

This was an avoidable defeat. United were the better team in the second half, with a lack of creativity coming back to the fore.

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

It is going to be a long month

This was a game where we could have done with Scott McTominay in midfield. Or Paul Pogba.

Instead both could be out all January with injuries and there is a serious lack of depth in midfield.

Nemanja Matic was good against Burnley, but a step up in quality of opposition saw his weaknesses exposed.

Fred was one of the better players, but he has not had a rest and did not look as sharp as usual.

With games to come against Wolves, Manchester City (twice) and Liverpool, this could be a very testing month.

Arsenal wanted this more

Arsenal just seemed to want this one more, and helped by the early goal, the team and crowd fed off each other’s positivity.

United did not have the same intensity and were beaten to loose balls, with Arsenal denying us space and time on the ball.

New manager Mikel Arteta seemed to have an effect on a side which were previously lacklustre.

United seemed flat by comparison and low on ideas. This was a game to forget.

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Set piece problems

Arsenal’s second goal was too easy. Sokratis scored from close range after David de Gea palmed out a corner into his path.

It is frustrating because United defended so well aerially against Burnley in the previous game, but concentration and marking was off here.

United’s defenders did not attack the ball well enough or respond to the loose ball. David de Gea was not commanding enough himself.

This is an area where United need to improve as the weaknesses were shown up again here.

Also, any danger of United scoring from a set piece?

Substitutes too late

The first half was one of the worst performances United have put in all season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not make substitutions early, but this was a game where he should have made an exception.

Andreas Pereira and Mason Greenwood were brought on in the 60th minute and United improved.

Solskjaer just needs to be more ruthless and take big decisions earlier, especially when it is going horribly wrong.

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