Emmanuel Petit: Since Fergie left I don’t recognise Man United any more

The former Arsenal midfielder also says the Gunners have a great chance to beat United on Monday

Emmanuel Petit


Arsenal have reacted well after the points they dropped against Watford. In a very difficult game for them against Aston Villa, having gone down to 10 men and needing to chase back from being down on the scoresheet, they showed character.

There are some very positive things to be seen there, especially from the younger players. The dynamic seems to be good. But you can’t be 100% sure of that, because you never know: they could easily fall down against Man United on Monday.

You just don’t know what to expect from this fixture.

Arsenal have been thrashed by Liverpool, though Man United aren’t on that level. That said, you’d think Arsenal have a very good opportunity to win at Old Trafford. They need a win away from home, as they’ve been dropping points so easily on the road. this match is very important for them, and it’s a good time to be playing Man United.

I still don’t know what United are going to do this season. It’s very hard to predict what they’ll do on Monday. The fans will be behind the team and the players will try to show character for the first 15 minutes or so – but if Arsenal defend well as a unit, that will lead to them getting opportunities to score.

There will be open spaces behind the United backline and with the speed of Arsenal’s forwards, they’ll get chances. But they need to show defensive resilience to allow for that to happen. Arsenal have a good chance to win.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Unai demands a lot from the players

What Unai Emery wants to create is a team. A collective unit. Not just the first 11 but the whole group. This is why he’s constantly rotating his side and including young players.

I like this idea, but it’s difficult for players to operate in a system like this. He changes so often – but you need to be playing regularly in order to adapt like this. His demands from the players are huge.

But if they show the character they’ve shown recently, they have the potential to do something. Belief comes with results, but results come from what you bring to the pitch. That doesn’t come easily.

You can’t do it one week and then sleep for two weeks.

The worst Man United team in recent memory?

Since Alex Ferguson left I don’t recognise Man United any more. They should scare their opponents – they haven’t done that for a long time.

I’m very surprised about this, because they’ve been spending so much money. Yet the profile of the players is not what Man United expect – especially when it comes to the fans and former players.

I remember back in the day when you had to play against United, you always knew you were going out to face the best footballers in the Premier League – and probably in Europe.

Some of the players at the time were among the best in the world in their position – now I’m wondering: where are those United players with character, who enjoy responsibility? Who play with imagination, creativity, and who have a great mentality on top of that. I used to see that all the time at United.

Now, you only ever briefly see the light of the team before it disappears straight away.


The players just aren’t good enough

The biggest problem at United is the players they have, but the stability of the manager is an issue for them as well.

Football has changed so much and the power is in the players’ hands now. Managers are under so much scrutiny that they don’t get as much opportunity to be themselves – they always have to follow what others think: the media, the players, the fans.

We all believed things would be difficult after Alex Ferguson departed. He was such a huge figure at the club – but we’re talking about Manchester United. Of course teams can sometimes have difficult two or three-year periods, which has affected even some great managers, but they just don’t have the right players any more.

They’ve put a lot of money on the table. But how many of the current squad are among the world’s best? They’ve spent so much money on average players, which has been the case for ages. It’s not a question of money – it’s a question of profile.

Man United 13/10, Draw 12/5, Arsenal 13/8