Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pressure on Liverpool: United in sight of finishing line...

Isn't football a strange game, not so long ago the thought of actually enjoying (if that is the right word) a Liverpool v Arsenal game was at best fanciful, because our hatred of these bitter rivals has been burnt into our collective subconscious minds. Rivalry is one thing, style or lack of it, is another and it wasn't that long ago that Arsene Wenger's team was the dirtiest in the league that was back in the days of Patrick Vieira. In those days the Gunners collected more red cards than just about any other Premier League club. For their part, United fans have pretty much always viewed Liverpool's playing style as inferior when compared to the champions’ brand of swashbuckling football.

However, Wenger has changed Arsenal's style over the last few seasons and it's for the better, the North London club lost the "boring, boring Arsenal" tag a long time ago, and the intimidating style of Vieira et al is a thing of the past too. These days Arsenal play quick incisive football to feet and it's good to watch, so much so that last night's match with Liverpool was as entertaining as any that I can recall between any two teams in recent years - and for a United fan, that really IS saying something about the respective teams.

What we saw last night at Anfield was a near win or die duel between title-chasing Liverpool and an in-form Arsenal who were without their top goal-scorers, it finished up 4-4 and on a night of glittering performances it was Andre Arshavin who was the real star of the show.

Arsenal's Russian star scored four wonderful goals and dare I say it SHOULD have been five, because he had one disallowed for off-side, but it looked like a good goal. For their part, Liverpool's defence was every bit as woeful as the visitors, but at the other end, Torres and Benayoun were deadly in front of goal.
Even for the neutral fan, it was a pulsating game to watch, it was played like a cup-tie.

Arsenal deserve a huge amount of credit for the way they took the game to Liverpool who looked capable of scoring with every attack due to some fairly hapless defending by the Gunners - but for the superb performance of Fabianski in the Arsenal goal, Liverpool's many friends in the media would this morning be doing all they can to spin the Merseyside Reds on to title success. It ended up all square and as a result the ball is now very much back in Manchester United's court.

Liverpool fans will this morning be coming to terms with the harsh reality, which is that it is looking unlikely that they will win the title because although they are level top of the table with United on goal-difference, they only have another 15 points to play for, whereas the champions’ have a possible 21 points to play for. United can afford to lose one and draw one game and STILL retain the title - in contrast and to stand any chance winning their first Premier League title, Liverpool cannot afford to drop a single point in their remaining five games.

Finally, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time you know that I wanted United so sign Arshavin back in the summer, alas we cannot sign every top player, but if only we had done in the case of the Russian... Fergie, Fergie sign him on...

3 comments:

  1. Great result from United's perspective. Before the game I felt that if Liverpool won then they'd go on to win the title. My reasoning for this being United's much tougher games & that Arsenal will win at OT.

    This result puts us very much back in control & must give a massive confidence boost to all concerned. The players must back this up tonight with a win & a good scoreline will help with goal difference.

    C'mon United!!!

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  2. I agree with you about the result, but I think United might well have the beating of Arsenal in the league and CL, reason being our defence is much stronger than their's and that will be the key over the coming games - that and taking our chances.

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  3. I agree that our defence is much stronger than Arsenal's & the defence is paramount to a successful team. However we are not very efficient when it comes to taking our chances which puts everyone under increased pressure. Last nights game should have been over well before Carrick scored.

    I always fear playing Arsenal - the pressure will be incredible when we play them in a final home league game. If we play to our strengths we should win but...

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