It was a day to forget for Manchester United in North London on Sunday as three goals in the opening 20 minutes sealed a 3-0 win for Arsenal.
The hosts raced in a two-goal lead through Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in the first 10 minutes, before Sanchez netted another soon after.
Having been outplayed for most of the first period, United improved after the break and forced Petr Cech into a couple of good stops, but the damage had already been done.
Louis van Gaal made two changes to the side that came from behind to beat Wolfsburg, with Michael Carrick and Ashley Young coming in for Morgan Schneiderlin and Antonio Valencia. Young came on at right full-back in midweek, but having impressed so much down the left last term, as a winger and wing-back, he returned to a more familiar role, with Matteo Darmian, a starter at left-back for the last two games, back in the right-back slot.
The teams came into the game on the back of contrasting Champions League results – United a 2-1 victory over Wolfsburg and Arsenal a surprise 3-2 defeat at home to Olympiacos. Many pundits wondered how Arsene Wenger’s side, who had been heavily criticised along with their manager, would respond. The answer in the opening 10 minutes was emphatically.
The Gunners came flying out of the blocks and within seven minutes were two goals to the good, without some Reds even having touched the ball. The first came on six minutes, when Ozil worked space down the right and slid a cross in for Sanchez to cleverly flick past David De Gea. Sixty seconds later, Ozil got himself on the scoresheet with a cool side-footed finish after being found by Theo Walcott in a sweeping Arsenal move.