The Gunners struggled to break down a stern United defence, failing to capitalise on Chelsea's 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion in the process. The result proved yet again that Arsene Wenger's side have trouble seeing off the big teams in the division, and this season is a perfect illustration of that.
Let's start with the leaders, Chelsea. Arsenal have played them twice this season, once in the league and once in the League Cup. The Blues grabbed a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium in the cup, whilst the two sides played out a terrible 0-0 draw in North London towards the end of December.
Arsenal failed to hit the back of the net in either game, and only managed to muster a shocking three shots on target in total. Manager Wenger has still yet to beat a team managed by Jose Mourinho, and with stats like those, it's no wonder either.
Then there's second placed Manchester City, who have been firing in goals left, right and centre this season, but surely they would find it harder against a real title contender? Wrong. City won 6-3, embarrassing the Arsenal defence time and time again as the likes of Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and David Silva ran riot against the Gunners.
The fears that Arsenal couldn't beat their title rivals were alleviated when they completely fell apart against Liverpool last weekend. Brendan Rodgers' side were 4-0 up inside 20 minutes, as Arsenal looked slow off the ball and ponderous on it, and the Gunners never really got going as they fell to a 5-1 thumping. Arsenal's solitary win against the usual title contenders came in November against Liverpool, as they ran out 2-0 winners at the Emirates Stadium.
Even against Manchester United, who have a terrible season by their usual high standards, have managed to pick up four points against Arsenal, beating them 1-0 at Old Trafford in November, before claiming a draw at the Emirates Stadium last night.
With all that said and done, Arsenal have played six games against Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United in the league this season. Their record stands at won 1, drawn 2, lost 3, scoring just six goals and conceding 12 in those games. 5 points from a possible 18 against title contenders simply isn't good enough, and it's one of the reasons Arsenal are now drifting out with the bookmakers in the odds for Premier League winners.
They will have the chance to somewhat redeem themselves when they travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea late in March, before hosting Manchester City just a week later, but the doubters have so far been proven right – Arsenal appear to be a flat track bully on this season's showings.
image: © HITC