Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vidic the defensive rock the key to win over Arsenal...

United are back on top of the Premier League following last night's one-nil win over Arsenal. Park Ji-Sung scored the only goal of what was a hard fought contest on a slippery Old Trafford playing surface. Arsene Wenger criticised the pitch in his post-match press conference, stating the poor playing surface affected both teams; the Arsenal manager also said that United deserved credit for their defensive performance.

Park scored four minutes before the break from a deflected cross from Nani on the right; the South Korean deserves much credit for what was a very cute flicked header, one which gave Szczesny no chance. It's fair to state that until that point in the game, Park had given the ball away every time he'd touched it.

Park didn't have a great game, but neither did Nani on the opposite flank, Wenger was right to have a moan about the state of the slippery playing surface, because both teams made a lot of mistakes. At times it wasn't pretty and Arsenal had the lions share of possession in the second period, but it was United who created the goal-scoring opportunities.

It wasn't a night for the purist and at times United lumped the ball up in the air too often, but ironically, such a punt ended in a goal.

For their part, Arsenal pushed and probed, but most of their attacking moves broke down on the edge of the United penalty area and when the ball was actually delivered into the box it was Vidic who headed to safety.

Vidic was at his towering best, he barely put a foot wrong all night. United's Serbian captain was by some distance the man of the match. If United can keep on defending as they did against Arsenal then they won't be too far away come the end of the season.

However, from a United perspective from an attacking point of view, what we saw against Arsenal was in many ways very unsatisfactory; all too often Wayne Rooney was left isolated and United were left relying on the long ball.

The second-half was crying out for the introduction of Dimitar Berbatov, who not that surprisingly had been left on the bench; Ferguson prefers to start with a 4-3-3 / 4-5-1 formation against the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea - but as we saw last night - this tactic has its limitations. But, it was United who created all the chances and so Arsenal can have few complaints.

Rooney's dreadful second-half penalty was simply that, dreadful. It was one of the worst attempts at taking a penalty this season, he didn't look where he was putting the ball, he simply blasted it.

United won and deservedly so, but it's doubtful the same tactics will work so well when the leaders travel to Stamford Bridge next Sunday.

Finally, the Chilean Miners have been guests of Manchester United over the last 48 hours: The big rumour sweeping the city is that they have been advising Carlos Tevez on how to keep your spirits up when you're stuck in a sh*t-hole.

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