Rio Ferdinand feels Erik ten Hag made a huge mistake by not subbing on Alejandro Garnacho in Manchester United’s 3-2 defeat to Arsenal, while he says Luke Shaw ‘looked scared’ against Bukayo Saka.
United took the lead at the Emirates through Marcus Rashford but were pegged back with goals from Eddie Nketiah and Saka – who was a constant threat down the right flank.
Lisandro Martinez headed the Red Devils back level but Arsenal were the stronger team in the closing stages of the match and scored a 90th-minute winner through Nketiah after waves of pressure.
Ferdinand felt United retreated too much and should have brought on Garnacho to provide an outlet, but instead they were happy to play for a draw.
Speaking on his FIVE YouTube show, Ferdinand said: ‘I will say, if I was being picky with United, I thought maybe they should have brought on someone like Garnacho with 15 or 20 minutes to go just to give Arsenal something to think about.
‘They were so on us. They were all over us because they knew there was nothing threatening in behind late on.
‘Marcus by that point was probably a little bit shot in terms of energy, Wout Weghorst is never going to run away from anybody and Bruno Fernandes was playing out on the right, more of a midfielder without legs.
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‘Garnacho I thought would have been a great substitute. With hindsight it’s easy to say all this, but they were the better team. ‘When it went 2-2, they were the team that said, “No! We want to win this! We want to take all three points!”
‘I thought the Fred substitution was obvious, but I also thought a double substitution then with maybe someone like Garnacho to give us a threat would have been a little bit of a punchy one to say, “We’re here to take the three points as well, you’re not just going to come onto us, we’re not going to just sit here and suffer!”
‘But we were. We were sitting there and suffering. But at the same time, we have to say Manchester United have come a long way. Arsenal are further along in their development under this manager, they’ve had him for longer.’
He added: ‘It’s indicative of where Man United are that one of my first calls is for Garnacho to come on and change the game. But at the same, maybe it’s indicative of the talent he is as well. The kid is demanding it. Every time he puts on a red shirt for United he impacts the game, so why not keep calling for him.’
Ferdinand was also critical of Shaw, who was given a tough time against Saka: ‘I think Saka, my young player of the year, had Shaw scared. That’s the first time I’ve seen Shaw look like, “Oh, this guy has got my number”.
‘He gave him far too much space a lot of the time, allowed him to run and get into the box before engaging with him because he didn’t want to get beat. He thought if he tried to face him up he’d just shift it round him. But Shaw’s been magnificent for United up to this point.’