Arsenal dented Man United’s Champions league hopes with a 2-0 win at the Emirates, yet many people believe that United played really well and didn’t deserve to lose the game. Graeme Souness was critical of United’s midfield against Arsenal.
According to Liverpool and Scotland legend, Graeme Souness, United’s midfield trio of Pogba, Matic and Fred was responsible for their defeat to Arsenal. Talking to Sky Sports, Souness said,
“It wasn’t the United we saw in recent weeks, biggest reason was that midfield, was way off the pace. Fred, Matic and Pogba. They never got near anyone today.”
Graeme Souness is right to some extent as both Arsenal and Man United created same number of chances, but Arsenal created majority of their chances from midfield whereas majority Man United’s chances came from their full backs and strikers. Whenever this chances came to United, they only had either one of the Rashford or Lukaku in the box, as there were no runs made from the midfield by Fred or Pogba.
Paul Pogba, who has been United’s best player and is in terrific form since Ole Gun Solskjaer took over at Man United, was completely ineffective going forward as he had only two touches inside the box and created zero chances and also delivered zero crosses for his teammates. This forced either one of Rashford or Lukaku to go deep in the midfield and create chances for each other.
Graeme Souness’ half time analysis;
“It’s a decent strike from Xhaka but you have to question why Paul Pogba isn’t doing more to keep it out. He showed no desire to make a save.” pic.twitter.com/7SOsoPdtWN
— Tom Todhunter (@tdhntr) March 10, 2019
Another reason why Souness is right about of united’s midfield is Arsenal’s midfield was not only better than United midfield offensively but they were also better defensively as Arsenal successfully made more tackles and interceptions than their United counterparts.
Nemanja Matic, as pointed out by Souness, who was just coming from an injury, looked a bit rusty and was not able to cope with the high pressing of Aaron Ramsey and rest of Arsenal attacking players.
The only United midfielder that looked good was Fred, who was constantly trying to get involved in the game. He got really unlucky when one of his shot hit the post. He was always trying to play link up between attack and midfield.
The race for @ChampionsLeague qualification looks like it is going to go right down to the wire! ?@GNev2, @Carra23 and Graeme Souness analyse the run-in and give their verdict… pic.twitter.com/AGHTmtwUn6
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 10, 2019
But his performance also kept going down as the match progressed, as he was really good in the first half but was not able to replicate it in second half. This led to his as well as United’s downfall in the match as they were not able to create that many chances in the second half.
Manchester United now face Wolves away in the Premier League in what will be a tricky but exciting fixtures for Red Devils as they will be looking forward to shrug off criticism of pundits like Souness.