Fergie's 'smart buys' reaping rewards at Old Trafford
Manchester United have gone in for smart choices, rather than spalshing money on 'big names', says Manu Shankar
Annihilation is the word that comes to mind to sum up Manchester United's performance against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Alex Ferguson's boys gave a perfect footballing lesson to the visitors, demolishing them 8-2. A hat-trick from Wayne Rooney, a brace from new boy Ashley Young, and goals from Nani, Park Ji-Sung and Danny Welbeck, put the champions on top of the table.
It was Arsenal's worst ever defeat against United. What's worse, it was the first time they conceded eight goals in a league game since 1896.
The result leaves Arsene Wenger staring at the biggest crisis in his 15 years at the helm of the club. But, fact of the matter, is Arsenal were facing an uphill battle even before referee Howard Webb blew the first whistle of the match.
The club, which is going through trouble times, was struggling to gather eleven men on the pitch following transfers, a spate of injuries and a red card.
Image: Manchester United players celebrate after scoring a goal
Arsenal was outplayed by Man United's speed
As if the exit of Cesc Fabgregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy was not a big blow in itself, Arsenal came into the match with the services of Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen, who were injured in the last match and suspensions of Alex Song and Gervinho.
For most of the match, their defence was shaky and out of sorts. And although there was a glimmer of hope for when Johny Evans conceded a cheap penalty to the visitors, the save from young goalkeeper David de Gea, reflected Arsenal's poor form.
Arsenal was outplayed by Man United's speed and quick passing. But what was inexplicable was why there was no change in their system in the second half.
Their defenders played up in front, leaving open spaces, which the hosts were more than happy to exploit. For most part of the match Wenger looked lost out of ideas, and had a resigned look on his face.
Image: Wayne Rooney and Anderson
Wenger should have been prepared
It is not surprising that Arsenal is struggling this season. The rumours of Fabregas leaving the club were doing the rounds since last season. Besides, some of their players have frequently voiced their frustration of not able to win a title with the club.
So, Wenger should have known what could be in store.
With the transfer window closing today, Wenger now has to fret over filling in the void left by his seasoned players.
Although they look set to sign South Korea's Park Chu Young, and there is talk of Gary Cahill doing rounds, the Professor has do something really fast to re-ignite the passion and hope amongst his players.
Image: Arsene Wenger
Ashley Young the best buy thus far
Ferguson, on the other hand, went for some smart buys, and it's paying off. With Paul Scholes retiring, he wanted a holding midfielder, and Tom Cleverly has done tremendously well to ease into the role.
The big hole that Edwin van der Saar left was taken by Athletico Madrid goalie David de Gea. It is still early days, but the Spaniard has looked wobbly in the three matches he's played so far. Sunday's showing against Arsenal should boost his confidence.
Perhaps, Man United's best buy has to be that of Ashley Young. A winger who can play behind the likes of Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Young provides that creativity, adding another dimension to the team's game.
Young has already been instrumental in key goal scoring opportunities, scoring a brace against Arsenal.
Phil Jones completes the line-up, following the likes of Wes Brown, John O'Shea and Darren Gibson all leaving for Sunderland. A more of a Vidic-sort-of-player, Jones knows reads the game very well and is strong in the air too.
Although fans would love to see Wesley Snijder too included in the Man United roster, Fergie knows that he has got a pack that's good enough, quick enough to win the race eventually.
Image: Ashley Young