I like to think that I try and look beyond the emotion of it all when it comes to football, especially when thinking through a defeat a good few days after the event but Arsenal's defeat at Manchester United still leaves somewhat of a sour taste in the mouth even today.
When the line up arrived via social media ahead of the kick off I remember thinking that regardless of the result, there cannot be any regrets about Arsène's line up, especially when you compare that to Louis van Gaal's depleted team. If I had the latest William Hill promo code 2016 I would have piled my cash on an Arsenal victory such was the contrasting quality between the two line ups.
Leading up to the game I had been hoping that we could take the positives from the Barcelona game, positives that I believe were massively overlooked due to our late folding in that particular game, but we worked extremely hard collectively, defended very well as a unit and that gave our counter attacking game an excellent platform. If we performed in the same manner there is no way that this Manchester United team would have beaten us. Interestingly though, I thought the selection of Welbeck and Gabriel indicated that we would see a team full of aggression and energy, squeezing Manchester United into their own half of the pitch and basically doing to them what we did so well in October against a much stronger team, at least on paper. Adrian Clarke showed on this weeks breakdown just how bad we were at doing that.
How it could have been all so different had Nacho Monreal finished in the 7th minute in the same way he did in the FA Cup at Old Trafford last season. Özil's pass was of the highest quality and in hindsight it required an early side foot into the corner, instead he volleyed it against the advancing de Gea who, to his credit came out very quickly and made the goal as small as possible.
Aside from the Monreal chance and an Alexis half chance, we provided very little in the way of penetration, it all looked very labored and lacking any intensity. That was the part I didn't understand. The players knew how important the game was and just how vital it was for the rest of the season but they looked as if they were out for an afternoon kick about in the local park, maybe I am being harsh I really need to watch the game again but that was the impression I got at the time. Then on 28 minutes we failed to deal with a cross and the young Rashford finished from close range after Gabriel cleared the ball straight to the 18 year old. A few minutes later and we failed to deal with yet another cross into the box and Rashford headed past Cech standing free in between Koscielny and Gabriel.
When Danny Welbeck pulled one back before half time I thought surely, surely it would fire the team back into life, unfortunately this wasn't the case.
Theo Walcott playing as centre forward was like playing with 10 men, with all the possession we had, he had barely touched the ball. The only time I saw him was chasing after the ball when he was nowhere near the man in possession. Was he isolated? did nobody find any of his runs? did he hide? I don't know but it was a wasted opportunity in such a big game. It seemed as if he was on STS (seriously tired syndrome) or something. Whatever it was, it really was not his day.
Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin did not function effectively as a pair, Alexis is still bang out of form. It basically was not very pretty at all.
The game was pretty much put beyond us on 65 when Rashford gave the ball to Ander Herrera who struck via the chest of Koscielny and past Cech. Herrera was not picked up by any of the Arsenal midfield and had all the time in the world to apply the finish, even if it was a tad fortunate.
Mesut Özil pulled one back with 20 minutes to go and you were really hoping we would be banging on the door in the final 20 minutes but we did anything but that. We lacked zip, tempo and creativity to break a mix and match Manchester United team.
So where it leaves us now is anyone's guess. We are certainly not out of the race given the amount of points left on the board. But can we do it? Personally I don't think so. We are not playing well enough, not consistent enough and not scoring enough goals.
Blame can be shared around the players and manager for this one, nobody deserves to walk away free for this.
The mood is very low right now and the only way to lift it is to now go and beat Swansea and then Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Not by playing like this, that's for sure. It is now down to the players and Arsène Wenger to find a very different performance.