Man Utd have a new ‘teacher’s pet’ after Ten Hag oversees Arsenal loss

Ten Hag previews Man Utd's trip to Arsenal

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As Manchester United’s season hit low after low under first Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and then Ralf Rangnick last term, an argument broke out. It was claimed a first-team player had accused a team-mate of being a ‘teacher’s pet’ for the German, though no names were mentioned. Right now, after Sunday’s defeat to Arsenal, the same could be said for Antony under Erik ten Hag.

Manchester United had gone into their game with Arsenal hoping to return to winning ways having dropped points against Crystal Palace in midweek.

But while Marcus Rashford and Lisandro Martinez struck, it was a disappointing afternoon with the Gunners claiming victory at the death courtesy of Eddie Nketiah’s late strike.

United weren’t at their best and, in truth, were lucky to avoid losing by more. Arsenal, who are on track to win the Premier League title, were superior.

There were a few bad performers on the day for the Red Devils, without a doubt.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka incurred the wrath of Roy Keane early on, with the former Crystal Palace star allowing Nketiah to draw Arsenal level in the first half.

Not for the first time, Scott McTominay looked lost in a big game as Arsenal counterpart Thomas Partey dominated the midfield.

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And Wout Weghorst did little to suggest he’d be a good signing for United, either, with the Netherlands international a static figure up top.

But Antony was arguably the worst of the bunch.

Back in the summer, Ten Hag was adamant he needed the Brazil international – regardless of the big money Ajax were demanding for the 22-year-old.

So the Glazers, aware they had to spend to help United improve after defeats to Brighton and Brentford, then sanctioned a massive £86million deal.

Antony has done well on occasions this term, scoring five goals across all competitions.

But his alarming dip in form means he isn’t worthy of selection and it’s a mystery that he’s getting into the side ahead of teenage talent Alejandro Garnacho.

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Ten Hag previously managed Antony at Ajax and it appears that close relationship is seeing the Samba star get into the team.

Certainly, it isn’t because he merits a starting berth on current form.

Garnacho may not be the finished article just yet but the United star has done enough this term to partner Marcus Rashford in attack.

The 18-year-old was particularly impressive in the 2-1 victory over Manchester City, providing the assist for Rashford’s dramatic late winner.

So it’s strange that Garnacho hasn’t been unleashed from the start in the two matches that have taken place in the time since.

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Antony, at 22, still has time on his side. Nobody should write him off as a flop, just yet.

But he’s starting to look a little lost and the pace of the Premier League looks too much for him to handle while he’s still finding his feet in the league.

Garnacho, contrastingly, looks ready to start week in, week out. At a time where the club are hoping to tie him down to a new contract, more minutes wouldn’t harm their chances of that happening.

And then there’s Jadon Sancho who, if he can get back to his Borussia Dortmund best, will be another strong option in attack.

Ten Hag is loyal to those he trusts. But Antony, at present, isn’t rewarding his manager’s faith.

Speaking after the defeat to Arsenal, meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand tore into Antony for the way he performed in north London.

“He just doesn’t beat anyone and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Was that always the way?’” he said.

“I’ve seen clips of him when he was at Ajax and he was somebody who used to beat people.

“I saw Thomas Partey, who I wouldn’t put down as a sprinter, absolutely burst past him, and I’m thinking, ‘Woah, he (Antony) hasn’t got much power in them legs!’  – speech mark facing wrong way

“He’s a tricky winger, but with tricky wingers you want them to still be able to beat the defender.”

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