Neil Humphreys: What a waste! No sympathy for fallen giants' expensive flops
The long, snaking queues outside 4D outlets are full of people spending their money more wisely than Manchester United and Arsenal.
As the rain poured at Old Trafford, it was hard to hear the world's smallest violin playing just for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Unai Emery.
There's little sympathy for either manager.
Their dire 1-1 draw was like Donald Trump's hair flapping in the wind. How has so much money been spent on something so unappealing?
Perhaps the world's smallest violin was drowned out as the world's greediest men kept giggling at the vulnerable position of fallen giants.
Maybe the drudgery was indicative of the English Premier League's new normal, a place where stagnant franchises pay over the odds for inferior talents.
While Manchester City and Liverpool buy the best, Arsenal and United pay similar sums for the leftovers as agents prey on their desperation.
When was the last time so much cash was frittered away without eradicating the obvious poverty within both squads?
As the popular cliche goes, Emery's Gunners are in transition as are Solskjaer's Red Devils. Both men need time. No one is advocating for either manager to be sacked. There really is no point, not with the dross on display at Old Trafford.
The underlying issue remains the kind of waste usually gathered in pungent piles at Pulau Semakau. At least the waste at Semakau gets buried. There's nowhere to hide the excess at United and Arsenal unless he's called Mesut Oezil.
Such is the grubby state of the clubs' waste management policy that the midfielder can earn £350,000 (S$595,000) a week not to play. He was dropped from the squad and his absence barely merited a mention.
When the German is no longer the poster boy for a club's squandering of resources, then sympathy quickly goes the same way as Granit Xhaka in midfield. It vanishes.
On the right wing, Nicolas Pepe's wretched performance was almost comically poor. He hasn't looked like a £72 million player since joining Arsenal.
His inevitable substitution was an act of mercy, sparing us the horror of watching a brittle winger spraying passes like a fireman losing control of his hose.
Shots, passes and crosses all missed their designated targets, as if Pepe was taking aim through a faulty gun sight.
Xhaka showed that £35m isn't worth being smacked in the face with the ball, so he ducked to allow United to score. The new skipper is a captain of invisibility. He keeps disappearing.
But Xhaka and Pepe weren't alone in a rogue's gallery of overpriced underachievers. Remember Fred? No one did until the £52m United flop popped up from the bench.
He had 16 minutes to justify his price tag. He failed. He was soon forgotten again.
Paul Pogba cost almost twice as much, but offered only twice as many reasons for ending United's panic-stricken shopping sprees in a bid to remain relevant among clubs that have - what's it called - a coherent transfer policy.
City and Liverpool champion a holistic approach to their spending. United's decision-makers still play pin the donkey in transfer windows.
Their combined spending of almost £150m to sign Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire was a step towards some sort of fiscal prudence - even if Maguire was still overpriced - but they remain 10th in the table.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement, the Red Devils' gross spending is almost £900m across a six-year period. And yet, not one player in the draw against Arsenal makes the first XI at either City or Liverpool.
Solskjaer insists that the days of reckless spending are done, just as United reportedly prepare to buy 33-year-old Mario Mandzukic in January, precisely the kind of costly quick-fix that has pushed the club towards irrelevance.
United, and Arsenal to a lesser extent, already have too many extravagant, ineffective purchases on their books, as their dreary stalemate demonstrated.
A game that didn't witness a shot for almost half an hour and was essentially devoid of entertainment betrayed two clubs with expensive squads and no clear plan. And we're all paying for it now.
A waste of their money is proving to be a waste of our time.
Manchester United's haul of nine points from their opening seven league games is their lowest at this stage of a top-flight campaign since 1989-90 , when they managed only seven.
Man United have won 49 points in their 28 English Premier League games under Ole Gunnnar Solskjaer - two fewer than they did in their final 28 under Jose Mourinho (51).