Man United trailed the hosts 3-0 at half time and Marouane Fellaini came on to replace Memphis Depay at the break. Wayne Rooney was deployed on the left wing and Schweinsteiger moved into the No.10 role. United’s performance did improve in the second half but, ultimately, they could not turn their fortunes around after a dismal start.
United were blown away in the first 20 minutes and never seemed close to getting back into the game but they were able to start producing some decent football of their own in the second half.
Schweinsteiger’s move up the pitch helped unsettle Arsenal slightly and found United in the final third more often.
When asked why the German played further forward, van Gaal said: “That was in the second half, not the first half. In the second half, he had to play against Cazorla, because he [Cazorla] had too much freedom and that’s why Bastian was playing more in front.”
The manager admitted that United could have looked better in the second half solely because the Gunners had taken their foot of the pedal at 3-0.
He added: “When he did that in the second half it was better, but you never know if Arsenal slowed down.”
United now go into the international break in third position in the league, having gone into the weekend top of the pile. It is a cruel blow for the Reds, who were starting to go on a great run of results. After winning four games in a row, van Gaal’s men have been brought back down to Earth by a brilliant Arsenal performance.
The Dutchman will hope that United can come back from the break rejuvenated and are ready to regain top spot when they visit Everton in the league.