Manchester United showed their current exhilarating style of fast passing and speed both with and without the ball. Sir Alex Ferguson has collected a group with pace and movement, which opponents are going to find excruciatingly painful. With strong, quick running, they destroyed Arsenal's rejigged team and particularly their inexperienced back four. I suffered a 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford in 1997. It hurts.
Arsenal staggered through the first half, with their defenders playing far too high up the field. They left acres of space between themselves and the goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny, which United ruthlessly exploited. It was very strange that Arsenal did not change their tactics at half-time. I thought then that, unless they made positional and strategic changes, they would be continually hounded.
Ashley Young showed great movement against the inexperienced Carl Jenkinson down the left wing. With Jenkinson marking tight and too far upfield, Young faded towards Patrice Evra before spinning behind or inside, taking the full-back with him. When Young came inside, Evra had the space to hit for Danny Welbeck's surging runs, a pattern that continued after Welbeck's hamstring injury.
Arsenal desperately required a Frank McLintock, David O'Leary, Tony Adams or Sol Campbell – a voice, a leader, a sense of direction. They also needed a battling group to stem the supply. Tom Cleverley and Wayne Rooney were unopposed as they picked passes. You cannot squeeze play from the back if your midfield players are not getting tight. Quite simply, United had too much space and too much pace.