October 23, 2021

‘Man Utd are frightened to challenge for Premier League title’ – Keane highlights lack of conviction in Arsenal draw

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The former Red Devils star was surprised by the tame performance against the Gunners

Manchester United players look scared to challenge for the Premier League title this season, says former midfielder Roy Keane.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men played out a goalless draw with Arsenal on Saturday, causing them to slip further behind leaders Manchester City, who beat Sheffield United 1-0 earlier in the day.

Despite forcing their way into the race for the title recently, the Red Devils have won just one of their last four matches in the top-flight and Keane feels they showed a lack of conviction to capitalise on Arsenal’s weakness and seal the three points in London.

“I’m scratching my head with United really. The worry for me watching them today, they almost lacked the belief they could go and win the game,” he said on Sky Sports.

“It’s Man United, you’re looking at Arsenal who are missing a few players, I know that doesn’t guarantee you can win football matches, but the game was there for the taking. Imagine being Man United and lacking belief you can win a game of football. Overall their performance lacked that intensity. 

“We can make excuses. We said at Sheffield United they slipped up, there’s no supporters at the stadiums, lots of fixtures, but a real lack of quality today from Man United and a real lack of conviction and desire to take the game to Arsenal. Arsenal deserved the draw at least.”

He later added: “People are saying: ‘Can you win the league and compete with Man City?’ It’s looks as if the players are frightened of the challenge and think: ‘I don’t think we’re ready for that’.”

Fellow pundit Jamie Carragher agreed that the Old Trafford side have been dropping points needlessly in recent weeks, pointing to the 0-0 draw with Liverpool, their midweek defeat to bottom side Sheffield United and the tie with Mikel Arteta’s team as examples. 

“I’d be more angry as a United fan today than I would be midweek,” the former Liverpool defender said.

“Yes it’s a game you should win against Sheffield United, we’ve been there as players where these things happen at times, you lose a game you shouldn’t. But it’s almost like United can’t believe where they are.

“People keep saying United are not ready to win the league, or they’re not good enough. I get all that, but there’s this idea they’re building and next year could be the year they go for it.

“Man City this season have got no strikers, Liverpool have no centre-backs, it is a strange season where maybe someone else might qualify for the top four that we don’t expect.

“This is a fantastic opportunity that they find themselves in right now and it’s almost like they’re happy to be there. I can’t quite get my head around it.

“The results aren’t bad in terms of today and at Anfield, but Liverpool with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho at centre-back, Shaqiri midfield, Arsenal missing their three best players, I don’t see the intensity or the energy or the thinking: ‘We’re fighting for the league, we’ve got to fight for this and go and take the game’. They should’ve won those two games.

“This idea that next year will be United’s year, Liverpool and City might go back to getting 100 points next season. I think it’s a wasted opportunity and I think they’ll be kicking themselves.”