Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes Santi Cazorla had put Bastian Schweinsteiger under his spell and manipulated him to the hilt, which was the reason behind the Red Devils' thrashing at the hands of the Gunners at the Emirates. Louis van Gaal had employed a tactic where the German midfielder was asked to close down on Cazorla, who pulled him towards the ball only to hand it over to Per Mertesacker, for Arsenal to start a counter-attack at breakneck speed.
The Gunners scored three goals in less than 20 minutes as the Red Devils were found wanting for ideas on the pitch. Alexis Sanchez was the chief destroyer with two goals, but Neville believes it was down to Cazorla's shrewd movement that United's midfield was strewn all over the place.
"Against Arsenal, for some reason, and I don't know why, it was like, has Schweinsteiger gone rogue?" Neville said on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, as quoted by the Mirror.
"But the more you watch the clips back, you think it must have been a tactic. In this game they got concerned about Cazorla. And Cazorla, he had him on a lead. It was like a man with a ball saying to a dog "come to get it off me, come to get it off me", and as soon as he gets near him, he throws it off to Mertesacker. It's like 'Come on, Come on Doggie' He's toying with him, Cazorla."
The Red Devils bounced back from that heavy defeat with a three of their own against Everton at the Goodison Park, with Van Gaal deploying a completely changed midfield and personnel at the back. Morgan Schneiderlin came in alongside Ander Herrera to marshal the middle while Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones came in place of Daley Blind and Ashley Young.
The Dutchman also changed his tactics and made his team more compact in the middle, not giving the Toffees any room to manoeuvre themselves. Neville believes that had he done this against Arsenal, the result could have been much different from how it turned out at the end.
"The contrast on Saturday was absolutely dramatic. It was a case of Manchester United being patient, compact. It was a completely different thing to that Arsenal game. I'm sure Van Gaal, when he think about the Arsenal game, will think, 'if we'd done this, would it have been different', even though Arsenal played brilliantly well," he added.