Manchester United 1-2 Arsenal: Talking points

by Ben Topliss

Stupidity from Angel di Maria

Utter, utter stupidity from Angel di Maria. After receiving a yellow card for diving, the Argentine immediately reached out and grabbed referee Michael Oliver, earning him a second and an early bath.

Substituted early against Sunderland and Newcastle United, Di Maria has come in for some criticism in recent weeks. This will only intensify after his sending off against Arsenal, but he had actually played well during the match.

A wonderful, whipped ball into the box four minutes after Arsenal had initially gone in front was duly headed in by Wayne Rooney for United’s equaliser and it was a real moment of quality in the match. It makes his sending off that much more frustrating for United fans.

Antonio Valencia’s wretched display

Antonio Valencia had an absolutely torrid game on Monday night. Alexis Sanchez got the ball on his flank on numerous occasions early on and often had time and space to beat the defender.

As it panned out, Valencia was at fault for both of Arsenal’s goals. For their opener, Valencia was dragged out of position by a mazy run from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Monreal exploited the space to score. He then produced an awful backpass in the second half which Danny Welbeck capitalised on. It was an utterly abysmal performance and one that makes Rafael’s exclusion from the first-team look ridiculous.

David de Gea doesn’t deserve this

David de Gea is undoubtedly the best goalkeeper in the world right now. The Spaniard produced a myriad of world-class saves against Arsenal and brilliantly kept out Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez. He was even good on the ball and often looked like United’s most composed player.

He really doesn’t deserve to have such an awful defence in front of him. He could do nothing about Valencia’s awful backpass and Arsenal’s players often had time and space to shoot. Fans will not like it but if United do not qualify for the Champions League, it would be no surprise to see him leave the club in the summer.

Marouane Fellaini – Plan A?

It is not Marouane Fellaini’s fault that he is a big lump of a footballer. He played quiet well against Arsenal and got himself amongst their players in order to rough them up. However, when United go behind in a game all they seem to be doing in recent months is hoofing it up to Fellaini’s head and hoping for the best.

With the likes of Radamel Falcao and Juan Mata on the substitute’s bench it is an awful tactic to employ. With Ander Herrera taken off at half-time, it seems as if Louis van Gaal prefers to play in that way.

Embarrassing diving

Van Gaal will undoubtedly tell his players to go down in order to win penalties for United but their diving against Arsenal was embarrassing to say the least. Di Maria went down easily in the episode which led to his dismissal before Adnan Januzaj tumbled in the dying moments of the game. United are steadily gaining a reputation for diving and it is something fans do not want to see.