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01st Nov 2020

Roy Keane tears into Man United after insipid defeat to Arsenal

Patrick McCarry

Roy Keane had plenty to say about Manchester United’s insipid performance in their home defeat to Arsenal

United are in 15th in the Premier League after their latest defeat and it is hard to argue that they deserve to be any higher. Arsenal were vastly better, in all departments, and were good value for their victory.

Paul Pogba was not the only United player to put in an under-par performance but his sloppy concession of a penalty, which cost his side the game, drew criticism from many. Surprisingly, though, Keane singled out Marcus Rashford for his most stinging criticism.

United were played off the park in the opening half and Arsenal could have scored on three or four occasions as Thomas Partey pulled the strings in midfield. The only effort on goal United managed was a low Mason Greenwood drive that was saved by Bernd Leno.

At the break, Keane hailed Arsenal’s opening 45-minute display as “outstanding” while questioning United’s lack of intensity and purpose.

The home side looked brighter in the second half but they created no clear-cut efforts. Arsenal went close, again, through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but his curling effort went just wide.

On 67 minutes, moments after Gary Neville, on Sky Sports commentary duty, suggested a mistake could decide the game, Pogba slid in behind Hector Bellerin and clipped his ankle to concede a penalty.

United have now conceded five penalties in their last seven Premier League games at Old Trafford. The previous five penalties awarded against United, at home, took 101 games to accumulate.

As it was, Aubameyang stood up and slotted home the spot-kick. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer responded by bringing on Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani for Bruno Fernandes and Greenwood.

Van de Beek’s smashed ball into the box deflected off the face of Leno and struck the post, but that was as good as it got for United. They have now collected only eight points from six league outings. Following the game, an irate Keane teed off:

“People were thinking United turned a corner after their last few performances, I was never kidded on by that… United, you start the game like they did with no energy and enthusiasm, you’ll make it a very long day for yourself.”

“Where do you want me to start,” he added, “we spoke before the game about being on the front-foot, being aggressive and showing quality… but where was it? Where was the quality?”

Keane was not impressed with Marcus Rashford was claimed his body language was “shocking”. “We talk about lack of leaders,” he continued, “I didn’t see any leaders out there.”

Keane referred to the late United and England star Nobby Stiles, who passed away during the week, as being an example of a leader. “5-foot-6 but the heart of a lion,” Keane said. “I don’t see it out there, I don’t see men out there, I don’t see men you want to be in the trenches in, guys you trust, God help us.”

“They say they’re turning the corner,” Keane later remarked.

“It must be the longest corner ever.”