With Antonio Valencia's calamitous back pass on Monday night went Manchester United's final hope of a trophy this year and manager Louis van Gaal's desire to win the prize that would mask a mediocre season at Old Trafford.
From misfiring multi-million pound imports to August's League Cup first round defeat to League One opposition, it has been a seemingly wasted year for the Red Devils. What positives, if any, can United take away from this season?
It should firstly be remembered what a disaster last season was for United. At this stage in 2014 they had five fewer points, one less goal and had conceded five more.
Manchester United alternate XI
Manchester United alternate XI
1/11 GK: David De Gea
No question over the place of the brilliant Spaniard; one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
2/11 RB: Rafael
For whatever reason, the Brazilian seems to have completely lost the trust of Van Gaal and only started six matches in the Premier League, and not since 26 October, with winger Antonio Valencia starting in defence instead. But Rafael, although sometimes very rash, is a good defender, always gives his 100 per cent and is an asset going forward. He would be an upgrade over Valencia.
3/11 CB: Chris Smalling
A long way from the finished article, Smalling has all the tools to be a top class centre-back but appears to lack the calmness or reading of the game to truly make the next step. Has been United's most reliable centre-back this season when fit, but the club certainly need to upgrade in the summer.
4/11 CB: Phil Jones
Like Smalling, Jones has all the tools but he too can make rash decisions and would be better with a more experienced head alongside him. Only just coming back from injury so if Shaw is fit Rojo should play in the middle.
5/11 LB: Marcos Rojo
Whether playing at centre-back, on the left of a back three, at wing back or at left-back, there haven't been too many complaints about Rojo, who on the whole has looked decent. He's decent on the ball and strong (if a little rash) in the tackle, and by and large a good defender. If Luke Shaw - who has enjoyed a mixed season but shown potential - is fit enough he should start, with Rojo replacing Phil Jones in the centre.
6/11 CM: Ander Herrera
That Ander Herrera has only started nine Premier League matches this season is a complete mystery to most. He has three goals and three assists in the league, is strong in the tackle, good on the ball and, unlike Carrick and Blind who like to stay deep, is willing to get up and support his forwards with late runs. Has been starting recently but needs a run of games next to Carrick.
7/11 CM: Michael Carrick
Daley Blind is a firm Van Gaal favourite but despite showing a couple of neat touches here and there, he offers very little as a central midfielder. He plays in a very safe manner, only ever going sideways and backwards and rarely breaking forward or creating chances. The same accusations have been thrown at Carrick over the years but he is better - Manchester United's best performances this season (in December/January) have come with Carrick pulling the strings.
8/11 RW: Antonio Valencia
Proved yet again that he is not a right-back. Terrible against Arsenal, he was partially to blame for the first goal, when he turned his back on Oxlade-Chamberlain, and completely to blame for the second goal with a poor back pass. But he is a very effective and direct winger and should be restored to his proper position - if Ashley Young is not fit enough to play.
9/11 AM: Juan Mata
The brilliant Spaniard must be wondering what he must do - besides grow a foot taller and add a stone of muscle - to make it in the Premier League. He was brilliant at Chelsea before moving to Old Trafford and when he has played he possesses the kind of creative instincts Van Gaal favourite Marouane Fellaini could only dream of.
10/11 LW: Adnan Januzaj
Never mind his latest diving incident against Arsenal, the talented Belgian has been vastly underused by Van Gaal. Part of that is because Di Maria has to play but now he is out, the Belgian should start. He showed too much promise in his debut season to be so marginalised. If Ashley Young is fit enough to play he should start on the left with Januzaj moving to the right instead of Valencia.
11/11 ST: Wayne Rooney
Playing Rooney in midfield isn't the worst option, he can play there in a pinch, but you lose so much by not playing him up top. He is such a dynamic force at his best that he has to play - it's not like Van Persie and Falcao have been on fire when they have played. Three goals in three games since returning to the front line shows his quality.
The average of 1.68 points they won per game was the club's lowest since the Premier League began - closely followed by this season's current average of 1.89. The 39 goals they conceded was the highest since 43 were allowed in 2001/02.
At least David Moyes' team had the excuse of a Champions League campaign - for the first half of the season - and the expected hangover from Sir Alex Ferguson's departure as manager.
This touches on the excuse that some made for Moyes' doomed term last season and which some still make for Van Gaal: Ferguson knew that his side needed a significant overhaul and timed his exit accordingly.
In some ways this seems ridiculous as United won the league in Ferguson's final season by 11 points and were 12 points clear at this stage in 2013, yet some of the underlying numbers support this claim.
The average number of shots taken by United per match was consistently above 16 for the four seasons from 2006/07 until 2009/10, but had dropped to 13.5 in Ferguson's last year at the helm and has since remained at a similar level under both Moyes and Van Gaal.
United were also abnormally clinical in front of goal in 2012/13, needing an average of just 6.8 shots to score each goal - their lowest since records began in 2001 - compared to an average of 9.0 the following year, which Van Gaal's side has barely improved upon with 8.7 this time around.
If Van Gaal can be criticised for noting this weakness but not correcting it, he has at least presided over some improvement in defence, where his sides have allowed over one shot fewer per game than last season - 10.5 compared to 11.8 - and are on course to concede seven fewer goals than the 43 they shipped in each of the previous two campaigns.
Even here though there is a caveat: United have allowed their opponents more shots from inside their own six yard box (28) than in any previous Premier League season since this data was first collected in 2001/02 and there are still 10 matches left to play.
Meanwhile shots from outside the box - which consistently made up over half of those faced by United under Ferguson in this period - now make up just 35 per cent, down significantly from the 46 per cent faced during Moyes' brief tenure.
Fewer shots from distance and more from close range implies that only goalkeeper David De Gea's brilliant season has spared his manager from further embarrassment in his uncertain first season at the Old Trafford helm.
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