Three mistakes, three goals. That is all it took to beat an Arsenal side that, bar their three moments of weakness, were outstanding. 75% possession, 33 shots of which 15 were on target, and 12 corners displays just how good they were, while it also shows the outstanding contribution of David de Gea too.
Manchester United’s first goal saw Antonio Valencia capitalise on a loose Laurent Koscielny pass to drill home the opener, while Jesse Lingard made good use of Shkodran Mustafi dawdling on the ball. The killer-blow came via a slick counter-attack as Koscielny was easily brushed aside in the penalty area by Paul Pogba, who squared the ball for Lingard to tap home.
All three goals were well taken, but they were entirely avoidable. The individual errors are something a manager cannot account for when preparing for a game, but Arsene Wenger needs to drill it into his side that they do not have to throw everything forward with 27 minutes still to play.
Lingard’s finish saw the nose inside the Emirates silenced, while it took the spring out of the steps of the Arsenal players. Had they have been throwing the entire team forward in the 90th minutes before conceding a counter-attacking goal, then it is something that simply must be accepted. However, to commit as many bodies forward as they did with just under 30 minutes still to play is criminal.
Wenger and his side must work on the idea that it is all or nothing in the game. Arsenal’s backline is shaky at best, and they do not need to get caught short with the whole team pressing forward as Arsenal were beaten because of errors and their own ineptitude. It is a harsh lesson for the side, but one that, if they choose to learn from it, they will be a much better team for.