Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sloppy United allow Arsenal to slip off the hook...

The big game at the Emirates stadium finished up two apiece and in truth a draw was just about the right result as neither side deserved to take all three points.

Much was expected from this match, so much so that sections of the totally ridiculous tabloid press had billed it as a title decider, it was never going to be that in the first week of November.

Whatever the lunatic fringes of the press had written in the build-up to this game, it didn't live up to expectations, with both teams largely cancelling each other out, but Arsenal had the Lions share of possession in the opening 40 minutes, while United's albeit limited attacks carried slightly more menace about them.

However, just as it looked as though the first half would end 0-0 up popped Wes Brown who robbed Hleb on United's right flank to supply a quick pass to Ronaldo whose cross was converted via a deflection off William Gallas.

Arsenal set about the second-half task of getting back into the game with a fair amount of gusto and when the equaliser eventually came, the source was once again a fullback as Sagna pulled the ball back for Fabregas to equalise after United's defence failed to deal with a cute chip into the box.

From that point on, the home side were marginally the better side, but they couldn't open up the United defence. The flow of the game wasn't being helped one bit by whistle happy ref Howard Webb, who didn't have one of his better games.

With twenty minutes remaining, both managers rang the changes, Wes Brown was somewhat surprisingly replaced by John O'Shea. For me both of the United fullbacks had been two of the Reds better players on a day where no single player really stood out for the visitors, save for perhaps Evra and Brown.

Saha came on for the largely ineffective Tevez and Carrick replaced Anderson, who'd worked hard for the team and did a pretty good job of tracking-back and tackling without imposing his authority on the game as he has in other recent performances .

Wenger responded with his own tactical changes, one them indireclty led to United taking the lead when Waltcott replaced Eboue, Evra took full advantage of Arsenal's right sided midfielder being withdrawn when he made a great run down the left, Saha played a quick ball into the box to find the Frenchman who in turn squared the ball and in doing so he completely bamboozled the Arsenal back-four to find the feet of Ronaldo who was steaming deep into the Arsenal penalty area to score.

United reached injury time leading this game, but somehow they allowed Arsenal off the hook as Gallas scored a very late equaliser after great work by Clichy down United's right flank.

Ronaldo should really have stopped the Frenchman, at all costs, but the Gunners rightback was allowed to power down the flank and cross the ball. The ball pinged around the box before Gallas's shot clearly crossed the line. A draw was the right result, but both camps will feel that they should have done better on what turned out to be a pretty good day for all four fullbacks.

Despite the share of the spoils, Ferguson will not be happy with the referee Webb who gave some very strange decisions against Saha in injury time which eventually led to Arsenal regaining possession when clearly the Frenchman looked to have been on the wrong end of yet more poor officiating by referee Howard Webb.

7 comments:

  1. good and fair report however if Fergie had some complaining so would Wenger on a good claim for a penalty in the first half.Hleb's shirt was clearly being tugged as seen on TV.fair result though i agrre that the expectations have been blown up,true they are the two clubs that are playing the best football at the momnet but how often do you se an open game with both sides attcking all out,when its a game between two top teams ?????/ .............that's only dream stuff!!! pity cause if it was an open game it would have been a big spectacle!!!!!

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  2. The ref was outstanding.

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  3. Regarding that penalty shout. I didnt think it was that clear-cut and therefore not an easy one to give as it looked like both players arms were interlocked.

    I was a bit disappointed with Ronaldo and Tevez to be honest. Ronaldo didn't help out enough when Arsenal had the ball and this left Brown with a lot to do - this was a constant theme throughout the game and eventually United paid the price for it. Tevez wasn't in the game.

    Webb was very poor at times and gave some very odd decisions.

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  4. Man United has never won away to Arsenal with Wenger as manager when they score the first goal...

    The Results when United score first are:
    3-1 to Arsenal (2001/2002)
    2-2 (2002/2003)
    2-1 to Arsenal (2006/2007)
    and now 2-2...

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  5. Well, tactically, United had the better hand as since their goal was harldy threatened, they could have easily opened up creatively when they had the chance, whether they did enough or not is up to debate. Furthermore, in these chess matches so to speak, when tactically and strategically teams (to their own advantage or not) sit back or hold their goal while attacking sporadically, have to ensure a high-level of concentration in defence as that is the premise of that strategy. United failed that test in the last minutes, but it should not cost them greatly. What do you think?

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  6. United weren't disciplined enough at times, I'm referring mainly to Ronaldo, but Rooney was guilty of ball watching at times when allowed players to run on his blind-side. On the ball, Tevez and Rooney were sloppy wasting possession at times. It wasn't a great performance and even though he touched the ball just a few times Saha played a more telling role that Tevez once he came on.

    It wont cost United or Arsenal in the long run, but they will both need to improve on this level of performance if either is going to win the league.

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  7. I guess you guys should check the stats out of the match. arsenal way way better than MANU, except for the tackles made and the tackles succeeded.
    Well all in all a great entertainer. But i still fell arsenal could have won this encounter..
    Mayb at old trafford arsenal could do somethin.

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