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'Go at them!' - Van Persie attacks Emery's game plan in Arsenal's drab draw with Man Utd

6:45 pm AEST 1/10/19
Unai Emery Arsenal 2019
The former Netherlands striker wanted to see a more proactive approach from the Gunners, who he felt were too reticent to attack their hosts

Robin van Persie has criticised the tactics of Arsenal manager Unai Emery as his side played out a 1-1 draw in the Premier League with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday.

Van Persie featured successfully as a forward for both clubs, but he was left astounded that the north London outfit did not approach the game with a more positive attitude given the struggles of their hosts.

He was disappointed, especially, to see a lack of intensity in their play at both ends of the field.

“Even though it’s away, it doesn’t matter, this is a big game. Just go at them and try to win the ball high, play in their half, play positive,” he told Optus Sports.

“I would like to see a better game plan. It is like in the first 25 minutes of the game, you could see they were dropping back a lot, quite deep. If you choose as a coach and as players to do that, it’s fine, but then you need to have runners. You need to have at least two runners once you get the ball which I didn’t see.”

Ian Wright, another former Gunner, was disappointed to see the coach pick what he felt was a negative team, with Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira lining up in a midfield that was better designed to stifle than thrill.

“No Mesut Ozil, no Dani Ceballos - creative midfield players. No one to really get the ball and control the game from an Arsenal perspective so they can get on the ball and maybe get their players into it,” he lamented.

After falling behind to a Scott McTominay strike just before the break, Ceballos was introduced and helped fashion Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s equaliser, while the point took the Gunners into fourth in the Premier League.

It was, however, a blockbuster match that failed to live up to its billing, with neither side capturing the imagination of fans or critics. 

United’s problems mount, meanwhile, having made their worst start for 30 years, with only nine points claimed from their seven outings this season.