I don’t know why I bother with Manchester United v Arsenal matches. Afterwards I end up feeling utterly shite.
Alex Ferguson has used the exact same game-plan for the last 5 seasons now and it works. While the “experts” at Sky were “stunned” that Berbatov wasn’t playing, I, like a lot of Arsenal fans I suspect, wasn’t at all surprised.
It’s the same old story, and Arsene Wenger either hasn’t realised it or doesn’t have the tactical knowledge how to deal with it.
It’s always Rooney up top, and two quick players either side to hit us on the break. These days it’s Nani and Park, and several years ago it was Ronaldo and Park.
If we know what United are going to do, then shouldn’t Arsene?
The sad thing was that Manchester United were there for the taking. Don’t get me wrong, they deserved to win tonight, but a big part of that was because we didn’t perform. We had glimpses here and there but there was no belief at all. I haven’t seen a team that was top of the league play with such a lack of confidence.
Is it the stadium? It is the team? Or was it the game-plan?
Whatever it was, Arsenal ran out of ideas, and lacked any kind of urgency.
Throughout the game and even at the end I had the belief that we could nick a goal so it was a shame that the players didn’t. Words to describe the performance are lethargic, tired and uninspired. And from a side that should be full of confidence it is frustrating and depressing.
This Manchester United side is the weakest for a long time. Yet we gifted them the victory and they didn’t find it very hard. I’d like to see what kind of spin Arsene puts on this performance.
The goal when it came was fortunate, or genius, depending on how you look at it. Apart from that, and the ridiculous penalty decision, United never really put Chesney Hawkes under any kind of pressure. Unfortunately, Van Der Sar have virtually nothing to do as well.
United sat deep and soaked up all the pressure with consummate ease. We never got in behind and while we had good spells of possession it was tame and it was almost playing at The Emirates.
Clichy was badly exposed time and time again and did well to cope with Nani on his own. As I’ve already mentioned, the penalty decision was farcical and for the linesman to gesture that he moved his arm towards the ball was completely ridiculous! Replays clearly showed that Clichy was on the floor and Nani poked the ball onto his arm. Clichy’s face wasn’t even looking where the ball was at the time.
As the second half went on you just hoped that someone in an Arsenal shirt could create that special moment but it never came.
People compare Arsenal to Barcelona but everything they do is incisive and dangerous. They ripped apart Real Madrid a couple of weeks ago and we are light-years away from that. We need to be far more clinical against the top teams and so far against Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and now Manchester United we haven’t been.
Maybe we can do what Manchester United did a couple of seasons ago and win the title against the other teams in the league, and almost write off the games against the Top Four. They managed to hammer everyone else in the league and lift the title, so I guess that’s our biggest chance.
Wojciech Szczesny: 7/10
Bacary Sagna: 7/10
Laurent Koscielny: 6/10
Sebastien Squillaci: 6/10
Gael Clichy: 7/10
Alex Song: 7/10
Jack Wilshire: 6/10
Tomas Rosicky: 6/10
Andrei Arshavin: 5/10
Samir Nasri: 6/10
Marouane Chamakh: 8/10
Cesc Fabregas: 5/10
Robin Van Persie: 5/10
Theo Walcott: 6/10
Arsene Wenger: 5/10