Photo: Associated Press
You get bullet points, because generally I endeavor to put as much effort into these write-ups as the team does into the game itself.
- Nacho Monreal = Andre Santos 2.0. I've been banging this drum for a while - Monreal has no pace, no strength and no positional awareness. He belongs at Arsenal as much as I do.
- Jack Wilshere, who I do continue to think will be a true Arsenal legend someday, had no business starting this match. He was clearly not match-fit, and how he stayed out there all 90 minutes...
- Once again, we exhibited no Plan B when situations call for it. All of the other big sides treat big away matches with more respect, and play accordingly. Naive old Arsene, after all of these years and after all of the tonkings we've taken in games like this, continues to set his stall for all-out attack no matter what the situation or opposition is. Once again, we paid for it.
- As bad as Monreal was, Bacary Sagna was not much better. Go back and look at the matches where we've been truly turned over such as this one, and damn near every goal against starts with poor fullback play. Sagna has been mostly good this season and in the short-term this should be viewed as an anomaly. However, this is a 30-year old with several serious leg breaks in his past, who every so often has games like this. Let's keep that in mind before demanding that he sign da ting for 2 or 3 more years.
- For the record, Liverpool's 4-0 lead was the fastest in Premier League history. Bang up job, guys. Really well done.
- I will completely write off anyone's opinion as utterly irrelevant forever if they blame poor old Wojciech Szczesny for this. I thought he might have come off his line and dived at Daniel Sturridge's feet on the fourth, but that is a horrible nitpick and wouldn't have changed anything at the end of the day anyway. He made some solid saves to keep this from getting worse - I'm thinking especially the one on Luis Suarez's free kick. Most people don't know just how hard that was.
- Beyond that, we were damn lucky it wasn't worse anyway. Had Sturridge and Kolo Toure not spurned glorious chances in the first half, we could have easily been 6-0 down before the interval.
- That said, your homework is to read this. The whole world wrote us off after this game back in December 1997 - you may recall that the 97-98 season ended with the Double.
That's all I've got. We will find out for sure on Wednesday what this team is truly made of. Win against United, and this becomes a highly-annoying but eminently-forgettable result. Lose that one, and we may be fighting for 4th for the umpteenth season in a row before you know it.
So I'm on record, I think we'll beat them. I still believe in this team and in these players. Hopefully, Arsene gets the teamsheet right this time (KIERAN GIBBS, PLEASE), and hopefully we get some performances from some excellent players going through bad stretches at the moment (looking at you, Giroud and Ozil). At the end of the day, Manchester United are a garbage fire this season, and if we don't beat them, we don't deserve shit anyway.
The Modern Gooner Player Ratings:
Szczesny 7, Monreal 3 (Gibbs 7), Koscielny 5, Mertesacker 5, Sagna 4, Arteta 5, Wilshere 4, Cazorla 5, Ozil 5 (Rosicky 7), Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Giroud 5 (Podolski 7)
Man of the Match: The closest thing Arsenal had to one was Szcz or the Ox, but in truth Raheem Sterling was the best player on the pitch today. Liverpool clearly was out to attack our weak spot - namely our fullbacks - and Sterling was a key part of that plan.