The teenage striker’s fairytale continued as he followed up his two-goal debut against Midtjylland by firing another double on his first Premier League start. But Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool hardman Souness could not believe how timid Arsenal were in a 3-2 defeat as they lost ground on Leicester and Tottenham in the title race.
‘Arsenal bordered on being a joke,’ said the 62-year-old Scot. ‘Arsene Wenger must be tearing his hair out. There’s a word I want to use but I can’t which describes a lack of something that real players have and this Arsenal lack it in abundance — just don’t have it, none.
‘Big players make other players play. The big personalities, the big players drag the lesser likes with them when things are going badly.
‘Who does that today for Arsenal? Where’s the Tony Adams? Where’s the Thierry Henry, having a moan-up at half-time when it’s not going well?
‘I can imagine that dressing room would have been silent at half-time. I’ve been in dressing rooms where there are real people digging other people out.
‘I couldn’t imagine that from this group of Arsenal players and I think they play like that. It worries me that Arsene continually talks about his team being mentally tough. It’s like they lack it and he’s trying to persuade them that they really have it. And I think here you learned a great deal about Arsenal.
‘I thought they would come here with an opportunity to put a marker on the wall and say, “We’re back in this race”. And they’ve been so insipid, so weak and pussyfooted.
‘All they’ve done is said to the opposition that this team can be rolled over. It was more tippy-tippy football by Arsenal, going nowhere.
‘I’ll stand on my head if they prove me wrong and go and win this league because that was totally unacceptable.’
Rashford scored another two goals in the space of four first-half minutes to put injury-hit United in command. Former Old Trafford favourite Danny Welbeck got Arsenal back in the game, but Ander Herrera’s deflected effort restored the two-goal advantage before Mesut Ozil replied.
It left the Gunners six points behind Leicester and Wenger called on his players to produce an immediate response at home to Swansea on Wednesday if they are to have a chance of winning their first title in 12 years.
‘It is still possible but the answer will have to come quick and strong,’ said Wenger. ‘We have dropped three important points and we have to show we can fight and bounce back on Wednesday night and not feel sorry for ourselves.
‘I felt we had a lot of the ball, a lot of possession, but we conceded two quick goals. At 2-0 down it is difficult and you have to take a gamble. The regret is having so much of the ball but we conceded three goals.
‘The player who was surprising for me talent-wise was Rashford. The timing and intelligence of his movement was great. He could be a very positive surprise for Manchester United.’
The 18-year-old United striker could hardly believe the sensational impact he has had on his boyhood team after scoring four goals in his first two games. ‘It’s crazy,’ said Rashford. ‘I can’t explain, when you’re out there, the rush of blood, everything. It was a shock playing midweek but that benefited me because I wasn’t thinking about the game too much.
‘This was my first game in the Premier League and it’s been amazing. It’s a bonus just to score two. I scored with my first shot, the same as the Europa League.’
Van Gaal also paid tribute to the teenager, saying: ‘It’s unbelievable. I can understand it against Midtjylland and he did it without any pressure, but the second time is more difficult and his performance was better. Four goals in two matches is an unusual average.
‘I have always said that it’s not a matter of age but a matter of quality and he’s showed his. I think he will be a very special talent.’– Daily Mail
Original source: Souness slams ‘weak, insipid’ Arsenal