Arsenal somehow contrived to go to Old Trafford with their strongest team in years, to play the weakest United team in living memory, and lose.

It was both shameful and predictable because this is what Arsenal do.

They always make sure that there is a massive blooper just around the corner on their Premier League showreel and, more often than not, it comes just when a side is at its lowest and needs a helping hand up.

If you take a look at the stats from the game, Arsenal bested United on every metric except four – shooting accuracy (71.4% v 38.5%), shots from outside the box (4 v 3), tackles (24 v 14) and, crucially, goals scored (3v2).

All of these things are linked.

Look at how the tackle on Theo Walcott led to their first goal. Look at how their pot-shot from range took a deflection and sealed the points for Louis van Gaal’s men.

Such a discrepancy in the shooting accuracy and number of tackles is telling, and the tale is not a pleasant one.

Finishing can be practiced. Tackling can be too. The only thing the Arsenal staff can’t give the players is the ability to believe in themselves and the drive to want to work harder than their opposition.

What those stats don’t show are the organisational problems Arsenal suffered without Per Mertesacker in the side but they do show a few areas where Arsenal could make immediate improvements.

Until they learn to do that, they will win nothing more than a cup here and there.

It’s not about being brilliant when it matters. It’s about wanting to be brilliant all the time. You may not achieve it, but you will be above-average more often than you would be if you aimed lower.

That’s what Tottenham and Leicester are doing and that’s all it will take to win the league this year.

Stats via