Arsenal fans were hoping to come out with at least a point against Manchester United yesterday evening at Old Trafford.
Instead, they came out embarrassed and set a horrendous record they haven’t amassed since last century.
An 8-2 thrashing of the Londoners solidified the contrasting times each club is currently facing. While Manchester United are presently flying high and clicking on all cylinders, The Gunners are set to face a torrid season if things do not change, and Wenger is in denial if he thinks otherwise.
Fielding a first team comprised mostly of reserves, Arsenal were on the defense right from the get go.
I assume Gunners fans were not confident seeing Francis Coquelin and Armand Traore named to the starting 11, but injuries and suspensions forced Wenger to thrust immense pressure on his inexperienced and depleted squad.
Sir Alex Ferguson started an unchanged lineup from last week as he rewarded Tom Cleverly and Danny Welbeck for their recent performances with consecutive starts.
Ferguson’s men were looking to take back sole possession of first place in the league as earlier in the day their rivals Manchester City comfortably ran away winners at Tottenham.
The game started off promising for the Gunners, but they were ultimately delaying the inevitable as Danny Welbeck nodded home a chipped Anderson pass 22 minutes into the first half. Welbeck has scored in consecutive matches and is looking promising after coming back from his loan spell at Sunderland.
Arsenal’s defensive frailties were expected to be exposed in this match, but Arsenal were handed a lifeline as Theo Walcott was felled by Johnny Evans in the box.
To the astonishment of the Irishman, Robin Van Persie’s spot kick was poor, and David De Gea turned it away.
At this point Gunners fans knew that this was not going to be their day.
After failing to level the score, United made Arsenal pay only a minute later as Ashley Young continued his effortless conversion to the Red Devils by scoring the second. The goal was taken well as he curled his shot around Wojciech Szczesny, a goal that Armand Traore can take blame for as he failed to clear the ball properly moments before.
The floodgates surely opened from there as Rooney nodded home a wonderful free kick after being taken down by Carl Jenkinson.
The young defender was booked for the foul, and that signaled the start of an awful day for the Finn.
Two more goals from Rooney completed his hat trick as all three of them came from set pieces.
The hosts were not content to sit back, though, as Young grabbed another while Nani and Park Ji-Sung also got on the score sheet.
Arsenal’s goals came from Van Persie and Walcott, respectively, but it hails in comparison to the disturbing display they put forth at Old Trafford.
Issues piled up as each ticking second came off the game clock, and Arsene Wenger is certainly going to hear a lot about his transfer activity (or lack thereof) the next three days.
Nothing good can be taken out of this match when it comes to the Gunners as the defense looked immature, their attack was missing, and Andrei Arshavin was fortunate enough not to be sent off.
The Russian executed two horror tackles on Phil Jones and Ashley Young but escaped without suspension; that would have brought Arsenal's player-dismissal total to three in their first three matches.
Carl Jenkinson, however, kept that streak alive for the Gunners as he was rightfully sent off after a second bookable offense was spotted by referee Howard Webb.
Wenger’s men—better yet boys—personified how tumultuous their season has been and how badly problems need to be addressed.
Manchester United, on the other hand, can take a laundry list of positives out of their performance, and albeit Arsenal’s squad was missing key players and lacking real quality, United's effort was ruthless and execution was utterly perfect.
Wayne Rooney said it best in his postgame interview, stating how nothing should be taken away from United’s result, regardless of how terrible times are at the Emirates.
Let this be a wakeup call for Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board as their weaknesses were exploited by United with reckless abandonment.
The French manager continues to reiterate that he has confidence in his current squad, but after the atrocious afternoon they had in Manchester, one would have to think otherwise.
Manchester United’s summer signings look like the early buys of the season as Ashley Young continues his stellar form and Phil Jones is playing like an EPL veteran, surpassing all expectations as a 19-year-old.
Also, Tom Cleverly and Danny Welbeck are repaying Ferguson in dividends as they seem to have benefited massively from their respective loan spells.
Another good sign for the Red Devils is the return of Javier Hernandez, who was a late substitute and appears to have fully recovered from a concussion.
Park Ji-Sung also continued to be a thorn in Arsenal’s side as he finds himself playing his best football against the Gunners in recent years.
Words cannot explain the state off Arsenal's locker room after this result, and many are continuously begging Wenger to shore up his defense and utilize the money acquired by the Fabregas and Nasri sales.
Wenger continues to tell the public he will dip into the transfer market, but with three days left to buy and an embarrassing bid for Bolton defender Gary Cahill rejected last week, nothing is reassuring.
Arsenal are obviously in desperate need to see their talismanic midfielder Jack Wilshere return to the fold as he was a revelation all last season and can single-handedly provide a boost for Arsenal.
Yet rushing him back from injury is not what Arsenal should do, and they should instead invest their money to bring in players that balance out their midfield and strengthen their defense.
While Manchester United’s performance was the highlight of the afternoon, Arsenal’s activity over the next few days will be the talk of England.
Will they go out and purchase a few last-minute signings to hush up detractors and fans alike?
The next three days will prove to be judgment day for Arsenal and their under-fire manager.