Manchester United’s current squad have been branded ‘the worst in Premier League history’ after a loss to Arsenal all but ended their first four prospects.
And not only that, the 3-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium resigned the Red Devils to their worst away run in the league in 41 years – a sign of the seriousness of the situation for the Old Trafford giants. .
United played well but were undone by persistent defensive frailties as the Gunners all but ended the visitors’ Champions League hopes while bolstering their own.
It’s a fifth defeat in eight games for Ralf Rangnick’s side, and it follows their humiliating 4-0 loss to Liverpool, which highlighted the extent of the gap between the current United side and the major Premier League clubs.
But if Tuesday’s result was poor, the loss to Arsenal underscored the scale of the task ahead for Erik ten Hag when he takes over this summer.
Manchester United have a worse defensive record than relegation-threatened Burnley this season, having conceded 51 goals in 34 games.
Their run of four consecutive defeats on the road is their worst in more than four decades, with their away record this season of six wins, five draws and six losses – with 30 goals scored.
Surprisingly, this is a team that was unbeaten away from the league last season, and it could all end with United ending the campaign with their lowest points tally in the Premier League era.
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A top-four finish is crucial to Manchester United’s rebuilding plans under Ten Hag, which is why this loss to Arsenal is so detrimental to the club’s immediate future.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game, talkSPORT’s Weekend Sports Breakfast host Tony Cascarino said: “Manchester United’s worst return in the Premier League is 64 points, and if they lose this game they could fail to achieve it this season.
“If they don’t, it would make this Manchester United team the worst Manchester United team in Premier League history.”
The Red Devils have 12 points to play in their remaining four games, meaning they can finish above that tally with 66 points.
But few would tempt the Red Devils to end their season with four straight wins in their current form.
talkSPORT pundit Dean Ashton is certainly not one of those few, with the former striker admitting Ten Hag has his work cut out to improve the team mentality and morale of this group.
“It was so important for Man United not to lose this game if they wanted the top four, and I don’t see that now, the gap is too big,” he said.
“There seems to be a spirit between the players and the staff at Arsenal, and you just don’t see that at Manchester United.
“It’s Erik ten Hag’s job, to put a style of play that the players buy into, that makes them want to work for each other, that is identifiable for the players and actually quite simple.
“I think this group of players needs a very simple structure and a way of playing that they can understand.
“They are quality players, they haven’t all of a sudden become so bad that you can’t keep them. I think a manager who goes out there and inspires those players will find that there are makes a good team of players there.
“With some players not wanting to be at the club and new players coming in with the right attitude, I think things can change a lot faster than people think.
“Although I don’t think the change will be instantaneous.”
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