Both Arsenal and Manchester United are in need of an immediate response after weekend disappointments when they meet at the Emirates on Wednesday.
Arsenal and Manchester United have enjoyed contrasting seasons to date, but on Wednesday both are faced with the crucial task of bouncing back from the lowest point of their campaigns.
Seeking to end a decade-long drought for a Premier League title, Arsenal exposed, really for the first time, on Saturday the full-scale of the vulnerabilities that many observers have long anticipated would emerge to derail their prospects.
To date this campaign, Arsene Wenger’s side have showed a valuable championship-winning quality to be able to efficiently dispense with the league’s lower-ranked teams. But at Anfield, when they were required to step up their game in the face of a Liverpool side that came out with ferocious intensity, they came up woefully short. Both mentally and tactically, Arsenal didn’t appear up to the challenge.
Whereas against the same opposition at the Emirates, Arsenal showed their superior quality by passing around them in midfield, at the weekend Wenger’s men failed to, as the cliché goes, earn the right to play. Liverpool’s pressing startled Arsenal and their mental fragility and unwillingness simply to dig in, led them to be 4-0 down within 20 minutes before eventually going down 5-1. With Mathieu Flamini suspended, the lack of a holding midfielder was exposed time and again in combination with the Per Mertesacker’s lack of pace as Liverpool bombarded them with early through balls.