Tuesday was a good news/bad news sort of day for the Manchester United global brand. On the plus side, the club trumpeted the arrival of Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid for a British record transfer touching $100 million. Meanwhile, the digital ink had barely dried on the Di Maria news by the time United lost 4-0 to third division Milton Keynes Dons in second round League Cup match. Okay, loss doesn’t quite describe United’s pathetic, toothless capitulation to a team derided across England for its lack of history.
This wasn’t even close to the first-choice United lineup by any means, but experienced players like Jonny Evans, Javier Hernandez, David De Gea and Danny Welbeck all played. It was still a costly, expensive collection of players, too.
Again manager Louis van Gaal tried his three-man defense and again United looked totally, completely befuddled. As I outlined on Monday the Di Maria move is only going to complicate matters, as the team tries to implement a system few players are comfortable with.
Regardless, somehow United have found a new rock bottom — or at least some more negative, embarrassing global headlines — and this time the club doesn’t have David Moyes to blame. As time progresses you could compare the last few seasons at United under Sir Alex Ferguson to an “Emperor’s New Clothes” scenario. United winning the 2012-13 Premier League — by 11 points no less — is looking more and more remarkable in Ferguson’s swan song.
The 4-0 result even prompted Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko to take to social media with this barb
ESPN FC’s account took this approach:
Fans seem to have taken it well:
On a more positive note, Arsenal-loanee Benik Afobe scored twice for MK Dons. Perhaps he’s the answer to the Gunner’s developing problems at striker.