Arsenal have fallen a long way behind Manchester United, say Supplement panel

Last Updated: 04/11/12 1:20pm

Andre Santos asking for Robin van Persie's shirt symbolised how far Arsenal have fallen behind Manchester United, Andy Dunn told The Sunday Supplement.

Former Arsenal captain Van Persie netted within four minutes against his old club to set them on course for a comfortable 2-1 win and Sunday Mirror man Dunn said it was disappointing to see the Londoners - once tormentors of United - so poor at Old Trafford.

"It was sad to see," said Dunn.

"It wasn't close at all; it was the biggest 2-1 hammering you're likely to see."

Andy Dunn

"When you go to Old Trafford for these games you remember images of Patrick Vieira going eye-ball to eye-ball with Roy Keane and remember Martin Keown clashing with Ruud van Nistelrooy. But Saturday was just a pale imitation of those games and those Arsenal teams.

"Arsenal were weak, limp, insipid and what is more worrying for Arsenal fans is the way they were treated, both in the way Manchester United played and what was said afterwards. They were treated pretty much with disdain by Manchester United.

"It wasn't close at all; it was the biggest 2-1 hammering you're likely to see and it's fairly humiliating for Arsenal to hear Sir Alex Ferguson say 'actually it's a pretty disappointing day, we could have had four or five'. Rio Ferdinand said the same thing.

"United played with no sense of urgency because they knew they didn't have to; this was an Arsenal team that posed no threat."


And Dunn was particularly scathing of Brazilian full-back Santos, who asked Van Persie for his shirt at half-time, with the Gunners trailing 1-0.

"There's always a moment in matches which symbolises the game and on Saturday it was when Andre Santos asked for Robin van Persie's shirt," said Dunn.

"A lot of people are saying they 'swapped' shirts - there was no swapping involved. Van Persie didn't want Santos' shirt, that's for sure.

"It's not unusual - it has happened before, with players getting another player's shirt at half-time - but what on Earth is he thinking of getting it on the pitch, in full view of 70,000 people, in full view of the travelling Arsenal fans? He's done it after 45 minutes in which he was absolutely awful. Has he got no self-awareness?

"In a way that encapsulated what Arsenal were about on Saturday - and showed why Robin van Persie left the football club.

"Van Persie got a lot of abuse from Arsenal fans but he could see the mediocrity of the signings which came in - Poldolski, Giroud didn't show at all yesterday and Arteta looks to be past his best form.

"They can call him greedy, they can call him what they want but he could see what was happening there."

No leader

John Dillon from the Daily Express was equally unimpressed by Arsenal's display and said they lack a clear leader in their side.

"Arsenal had a very encouraging start to the season but it's fallen to bits," he said.

"What was evident yesterday was the absence of a real leadership figure. Van Persie became that figurehead last season with his goals and that transmitted itself through the team but there seems to be a hole, a vagueness about them now."