Written by Harry
They arrived battered, bruised, down trodden and weary, yearning for the season to end and for the summer holidays to start so they can relax and think about how close we have come again to the title to see it ebb away at the death, to plan the changes required, and that’s just the fans……..
The players though, although desperately weary after suffering so much in the last few months, still had to show the fans, the boss and the watching public that we do have something about us, that we can battle and that we can win against United……4 games to ensure that we push Chelsea all the way and also don’t let City still get 3rd from us…..
I sat down in my seat just as the team came out and lined up to shake hands, then the announcer reminded us all what their names were again, hang on Cesc was missing, but Aaron was in the middle instead, an injury in training yesterday it transpired later?
Arsenal started very brightly and had all the early play, United on the other hand had come with their usual game play that Fergie has adopted for last 4 or 5 years against us….Sit, hold and contain and play at speed on the break, with an added secret ingredient of Ji Sung Park, who seems to be Old Red Nose’s, ace up his sleeve, well so he thinks…..
As Arsenal stroked the ball around in the afternoon sun, Walcott was having some joy down the right early doors, one cross came in and United’s defence struggled to clear, Vidic weakly poked the ball out, only as far as Jack, who lashed a wild shot wide of the RH post…..In the seasons to come that ball will nestle in the net nicely……..But it showed our intentions……
The game, as usual between us, had a nasty undertone to it, that threatened to boil over, especially with Shrek intent on moaning throughout at every decision that didn’t go Uniteds way and he continually asked the ref to book players, either that or he was asking Chris Foy, how old his mum was…….
Next moment of interest, saw Nasri trying to break free from Fabio, who was insisting that he fouled Nasri at every opportunity, but the ball broke and Clichy picked it up at pace, he strode forward and put the ball across low into the danger area, Walcott got in between Vidic and Evra, and managed to get a leg on it but could not keep it down…
Moments later, a delightful lob pass was taken through by Jack on his chest, ball down, across the area to the incoming Walcott only for Evra to get to it first…..
Then Nasri, jinks forward pushes the ball into Jacks path, who heads into the box only to be upended on the edge by Vidic, Foy looks over to Fergie and waves play on…..A 100% nailed on free kick…….
Uniteds first chance came about midway when Nani pushed down the right, Clichy held him up but he dinked a sweet ball through to Fabio, who ran into the box, he pulled it back across for Hernandez, but the Sagman, got infront and cleared the ball away for a corner, for me a key moment, as previously when we have had such possession, we have had the tendency to concede on United’s first real chance, Fabio really was given too much room and wasn’t tracked by anyone….
Next really key moment was after an interchange of passes from Ramsey and Van Persie, saw Ramsey put Theo away down the right, delightful cross as RVP rose to head home, Vidic had the urge for a toilet break and put his hand up, the ref said no and play on, it’s the only reasoning I can give for getting no decision, as the aggrieved RVP furiously blasted the assistant on the right. Should have been a penalty and a red card………Both officials had a cleared view……..poor……
Just before half time, the president of the GILF club, pushed Wilshere to the ground wide out on the left touchline and picked up a yellow…..
The only other thing worth noting from the first half action was that Chris Foy managed to break up Arsenal attacking play 3times!!! By getting in the way…….Which really irked the crowd, who for once played their part in the game and maintained a reasonable atmosphere, I was sitting in North Bank Upper for a change, instead of the clock end.
A change at half time as Nasri was replaced by Arshavin due to Injury……..
Early doors 2nd half and United got a free kick, which had Sczszesny at full stretch to keep a Rooney curler out….
Sagna then had a dig from outside the area, just wide of the far post….
As United repelled another attack, Song intercepted, the ball fell to Ramsey’s feet, he turned and played Van Persie down the right, he continued down the right and into their box, for once we had 3 on the 6yard area, but Ramsey had continued his run, he held his arms aloft and shouted for the ball, RVP dragged it back and Ramsey stroked the ball through Carricks legs into the far LH corner of the goal with Van der Sar helplessly at full stretch…..1-0……..
United continued to push on, but our young pole in goal was having a great afternoon, his presence and confidence clear to see as he dominated his area…….
Then the game really threatened to boil over as Song got the ball off Evra, but he got the player as well, Foy gave a free kick and a yellow, a melee of players threw a few handbags as Nani spat his dummy out wanting the ball back……Took 4 of them to get it off our Cameroonian Warrior……
The next United chance fell to the plastic Ronaldo “Nani” who went for the near post, Sczezesny stood firm and big, blocking the ball away from danger…
The stand out observations in the 2nd half were the tenacity of Arshavin as he flew into tackles…….And Ramsey was orchestrating the play with able support from Wilshere…….
At one break in play Wilshere and Ramsey grabbed a drink from the bench, as they stood on the touchline the boss, gave directions. As I looked down, I remarked to my friend, that there was the future of Arsenal, keep those 2 and we will win trophies that I am so sure of…..Its an image I want to be seeing in the coming years…..
As Ramsey started another move, he went for his return ball, but Walcott put the ball in, to RVP at the far post, who only managed to hit the side netting….The 2nd would not come, chances were not been taken…….Djourou was replaced by Squillaci due to injury…….which added to the nerves in many……
Another break saw Wilshere stride forward centrally, Arshavin just ahead was screaming for a pass ahead of him. But Wilshere left it too late and didn’t make the chance count, as United cleared the ball away…..
Owen had come on and his only contribution was to dive to try and win a penalty, Clichy tried his hardest to make it look a penalty, as his foot raked his calf, if that had been given, he would have been slaughtered and the Press would have had an absolute field day…
Personally for me it was a dive, but it could have been given and I would have appealed at the other end, similar to Lucas for Liverpool, Owen played for the penalty… For some strange reason Foy forgot he is Fergies rent boy and waved play on…
Arsenal had a few breaks but didn’t capitalise, nerves jangled, United had the last chance as Foy gave a free kick against Ramsey who quite rightly said he got the ball, Nani having just watched a video of Arsenal free kicks on the journey down, blasted into the wall…….
A momentary pause as the fans await the whistle, its blown, 1-0 to the Arsenal…….the crowd largely still there, minimal early leavers, cheered as United fans left with their tails between their legs…
Ratings: (My untrained view)
Szczesny:…7.5…Solid confident display and made some vital saves, his kicking was putting us back under pressure in the 2nd half final minutes…Needs to see this and deal appropriately.
Sagna: …8…Strong defensively and handled all United threw at us. Some good attacking moments and had a long distance shot…For me best RB about at the moment, stopped us conceding in the first half…..
Djourou:…7….Better than last week, strong in the air, clears well, but as the pressure increased in the 2nd, he showed signs of pressure, still has a career ahead of him here, just needs to add a nasty streak for me…..
Koscienly:…7.5…Think it was a good performance, broke play up and pushed forward to give impetus to our play…..He really reads the game so well and cuts out so much, certainly could play the DM role when needed next season.
Clichy:…6…Some good attacking play, but woeful defending, with many silly balls lost, poor headers straight to United players and his usual moments of panic when he got the ball to feet…..His mind always seems to be elsewhere…..
Song…9…Immense, played Rooney off the park totally, in my mind wasn’t necessarily man marking the green eyed monster, but he was everywhere, certainly more defensive minded all round and played a key role, for me really pushed for man of the match, which I know many will go for.
Wilshere:…8…Outstanding play and very influential, much better in the 1st half, offered many outlets and complimented Ramsey……Goals will come next season…
Ramsey:…9…Absolute star, kept probing, never hid, when he did make a mistake he helped win the ball back…Started and finished the move that ended with him beautifully caressing the ball into the net….That was his first start at home since that break…For me he gets the MotM, just ahead of Song for the goal,. But also his constant harassment of United and forcing mistakes, then initiating forays into their territory…..
Walcott:…8…Had an excellent game, some great crosses into the box, notably the one Vidic handled…Personally would have left him on, just feel he makes the other team nervous….
Nasri:…7…Excellent first half against a dogged opponent in Fabio. Went off injured.
Van Persie:…8… Great game, interlinked play and unlucky not to score. Held his nerve well and great assist for Ramsey. Led the team well, closed down well and worked the line well……Still prefer it when he drops deeper to control play…..
Arshavin:…8… Excellent half and really defended like his life was on the line, was throwing tackles into United players with the more venom than Fergie chews his gum…..
Eboue:…6…Not enough time to judge….
Squillaci:…6…Not enough time to judge….
Wenger:…8…Got his team up for it and showed that without Fabregas we do have a team that can win…Only made 1 tactical substitution, with Eboue for Walcott…Others forced on by injuries. Made a great decision to start Ramsey, people say how much we have missed Vermaelen this season, but so too young Aaron at times would have given us much more in attacking play….
There’s an argument that with the pressure off we played better, I am in the middle, for me there was still the pressure of City breathing down our necks and also keeping in behind Chelsea. I would agree that the pressure was different to previous weeks.
The team did us proud, they worked hard as a unit and press United, some said United were poor, for me it was due to our work ethic, so praise where praise is due, the score line flattered them really, although as some alluded to yesterday, it was a bittersweet victory which made the recent dropped points even more annoying…….
It has also handed the Chavs down the road a chance, but who do we really want to win out of the twins of ‘equal dislike’ ?
To be honest I don’t really care, just lets win our final 3 games, and see where we sit at the end, 66-1 for the title, which really needs a dramatic collapse from both teams, very unlikely, but then did Kate Middleton really believe as a kid she’d marry a Prince…………?