Manchester United routs Arsenal
Manchester United handed Arsenal its heaviest loss under Arsene Wenger on Sunday, with Wayne Rooney scoring a hat trick in a humiliating 8-2 drubbing in the Premier League that only compounded the London club's early season troubles.
Having seen cross-city rival Manchester City thrash Tottenham 5-1 earlier in the day, United responded in style with Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck, Nani and Park Ji-sung joining Rooney on the scoresheet.
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Rooney converted two free kicks and a penalty to pass 150 goals in the Premier League with the sixth hat trick of his United career as his side moved to the top of the Premier League with a 100 percent record, ahead of City on goal difference.
"It was a good win for Manchester City but we had to concentrate on our own performance and it was something," Rooney said. "I don't think any team are going to score eight against Arsenal again."
Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie replied for a makeshift Arsenal side, while Van Persie had a penalty saved in the first half when Arsenal was trailing 1-0.
Arsenal conceded eight goals in a league game for the first time since 1896 and for the first time ever in the top flight.
"You feel terrible, it's painful," Wenger said. "It was a special game, so it hurts."
Arsenal has picked up only one point so far and has had a player sent off in each of its three games after Carl Jenkinson was dismissed for two yellow cards against United.
The pressure on Arsenal and manager Wenger had eased slightly after the midweek win over Udinese ensured the London club would be playing in the Champions League group stage this season, but the gulf in class against United illustrated that Arsenal's problems persist.
Injuries and suspension meant the inexperienced Jenkinson and Francis Coquelin made the starting lineup at Old Trafford, the latter for his Premier League debut.
Wenger has until Wednesday, when the transfer window closes, to strengthen his squad.
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"We are close to signing a striker, but we want a midfielder and a defender," Wenger said. "We have to sort out the problems we have in the squad.
"In 15 years at the club, we have bought good players. We have played three games. All I will say is give me more time to say I have completely done it wrong. We were poor defensively and we collapsed more physically than anything else today."
United manager Alex Ferguson leapt to Wenger's defense, although he also pointed out that his team "could have scored more" after racking up eight goals or more for the third time in the Premier League.
"I think the criticism is unfair," Ferguson said. "I think the job he has done for Arsenal over the years, by keeping his philosophy, has given the team some fantastic players.
"But we live in a terrible, cynical world now and when you lose a few games the judge is out, and you see managers going early in the season many, many times over the past few seasons — unfairly."
Ferguson's rampant team showed no sympathy for Arsenal. Welbeck, who later limped off injured, opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after shrugging off the attentions of Johan Djourou and looping a header home.
Arsenal should have drawn level five minutes later when Jonny Evans pulled down Walcott for a penalty, but Van Persie's low spot-kick was turned aside by goalkeeper David De Gea.
To add insult to injury, Young extended the home side's lead within 60 seconds. The $29.4 million summer signee from Aston Villa curled in a shot from 25 yards.
In a managerial career that started in 1984, Arsene Wenger has won his league's manager of the year award six times, claiming four league titles along the way. In total, Wenger has claimed 11 major honors in a managerial career that started in France and had a brief sojourn in Japan before moving to London.
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Rooney made it 3-0 with a curling free kick from the left in the 41st, but Arsenal was at least given a glimmer of hope on the stroke of halftime when Walcott's strike — which went through De Gea's legs — rounded off an incident-packed half.
But the visitors conceded three goals in a seven-minute burst in the second half. Rooney converted another free kick, this time from the right, in the 64th, Nani chipped home three minutes later and Park fired in the sixth in the 70th.
Van Persie managed a consolation strike for the visitors in the 74th before Arsenal was reduced to 10 men when Jenkinson collided with substitute Javier Hernandez just outside the area to pick up his second booking.
Rooney missed on that free kick but completed his hat trick from the penalty spot in the 82nd after Walcott tripped Patrice Evra.
Young completed the scoring in injury time to make it only the fourth Premier League match to have featured 10 goals or more.
"They had a few players out but nothing should take away from our performance," Rooney said. "It was brilliant."