A really attacking team selection was announced at 3.30pm. Both Ramsey and Ozil playing along with twin strikers Laca and Auba. Width provided by wing backs maybe or some other genius Emery plan to extract a win from such a difficult fixture?
We started well but Lukaku had the best early chance, clumping the ball into the turf and up on to the bar.
What a banger from Xhaka! Perhaps he should take all the penalties if he can send the keeper the wrong way when he’s 35 yards out. We’d started well and Xhaka’s goal was the crowning glory; the best keeper in the Prem left floundering.
The red mancs perhaps had the better of the chances in the remainder of the first half, with Lukaku attempting to round our German keeper but being foiled by an oustretched glove and another nobody bouncing one off the post when Leno had it covered.
Our best chances came from driven crosses from Wardrobe, Laca just failing to sneak one in at the near post and Auba cutting back instead of launching himself at the far.
One nil at half time and for a change we defied the xG, scoring with our only shot on target and United couldn’t capitalise on their slightly better chances as these half time figures show.
Arsenal’s second half performance was a credit to each and every one of the players and also a credit to their manager. Man U’s chances were far less dangerous after half time and when they did threaten to score, Leno was invincible in goal. The save with his foot when Lukaku was put clear by Rashford was superb.
The penalty on 69 minutes proved to be a real make or break moment in the match. Fred (not the Trinidadian one) had clumsily challenged Laca in the box and the salad dodger decided that to even out the 99 things he’d given Man U, he’d finally give us something.
There can’t have been many Gooners around the world who weren’t looking at Auba through their fingers as he sought to make amends for missing against the spuds. As it turned out, it was a penalty of supreme ease as De Gea was still going the wrong way from Xhaka’s swerver in the first half. The ball went straight down the middle and the Emirates went into raptures.
It was a shame Laca couldn’t squeeze in his cross shot just before the end – I’ve always liked three nils. I suppose just the three points will have to do. 🙂
With the spuds losing and chavs sneaking a point late on, the winner of this match was sure to reap the benefits in the race for the CL places. Beating the red mancs so conclusively and ending their great run was the stuff that dreams are made of.
What a great game of football it was, too! Sky picked the best game of the weekend with chances galore, drama and non-stop action.
Unai Emery’s team must have made him a very proud man.
Leno – did everything you’d hope a top class keeper would do for the team – and when United did get round the defence he was immense … 9
Maitland-Niles – Unai had obviously been saving him up because he blew away any doubters with his best performance for a long time … 8
Sokratis – rapidly becoming one of my favourites – gives no quarter, asks for no quarter – plays football as it should be played … 8
Koscielny – a rock at the back – he consistently gets battered but always comes back for more – will be pleased he can have a rest after Thursday’s Europa rematch … 9
Monreal – dealt with everything thrown at him playing in a back three .. 8
Kolasinac – sometimes you get the impression he thinks that playing wing back absolves him of all defensive duties, but he does contribute a great amount going forward … 8
Xhaka – love his left foot – love it even more now – had one of his best performances for ages – extra point for the goal … 9
Ramsey – my MOTM – didn’t stop running for the cause the whole game – if he’d shown this kind of form and discipline before his contract wranglings, no-one in their right mind wouldn’t have re-signed him to his last big contract … 9
Ozil – probed and prodded – attempted to close down and do the dirty things asked of him … 8
Aubameyang – a point to prove and didn’t he just with that ice-cool penalty – closed down better in this game than I’ve seen him so far in his Arsenal career … 8
Lacazette – another personal favourite of mine – he knows what it entails to fight to win a game – absolutely love his commitment … 9
Iwobi – came on and made a real nuisance of himself taking pressure off the defence … 7
Suarez – Denis came on and worked really hard for the cause while show some silky ball skills … 7
Nketiah – chased everything and ensured United couldn’t build from the back without coming under pressure … 7
Emery – Everything bang on from the manager today – team selection excellent – formation excellent – whatever he sacrificed on the upper slopes of Muswell Hill to the footballing gods so that they’d smile on us, was well worth it … 9
Solskjaer – curious how his team had defied the xG in their unbeaten run, scoring a lot more goals than expected and conceding far fewer and yet when it came to a game when they did have chances to score, they couldn’t convert – as BR pointed out yesterday, this kind of luck has to run out eventually – unbeaten away run over, mate, haha … 5
Superb write up, Chas. Thanks very much
When I saw the team sheet I thought Unai had lost the plot, and that’s coming from someone who really does believe attack is the best form of defence
One defensive midfielder against Utd? You crazy?
Golden rule: you cannot play Ramsey and Ozil. Either or.
Then the subs. you’re 2-0 up v Utd and you bring on another attacking player???? You nuts?
Then another attacking midfielder?????
Then the third sub? Yip, another attacker 🙂
6:40 . perfect 🙂
Here’s the clip after the NLD with Ferdinand using ‘Ole’s at the wheel’ that the AFC 6:40 tweet is lampooning. 🙂
Well done Chas, excellent break down of game and player input. Like you, Aaron and Leno were joint MOM for me, and the variety of choices last night on the blog proved what a great team performance it was.
Hope the moron doesn’t dominate this week, and Shearer’s demand for points deduction doesn’t get a hold in the media.
Hope we can continue the momentum on Thursday and produce a miracle. Worried they will score.
Meanwhile, we can bask, and a trip to Cheltenham will do me as a starter for the week.
Who’s ‘the moron’ and what points deduction?
Superb Post, Chas! Can’t find anything to disagree with, and the ratings are spot on too.
LBG might be referring to Shearer — the points deduction idea is a Swedish one. A local Shweedish team had points (all three) deducted after a fan through a firework or some such onto the pitch.
Game stopped – points awarded to the opposition team.
Problem is, Spuds supporters might get Arsenal tickets, run on the pitch – Arsenal lose 3 points – following game, different Spuds fan gets another Arsenal ticket – runs on pitch – Arsenal lose another 3 points.
Pretty stupid suggestion.
What a difference waking up the next day after the lads have won. 😜👍
Losing should be banned by law – for Arsenal.
Oh, what a beautiful morning, oh, what a beautiful day, I’ve got a wonderful feeling everything’s going my way.
Yes the moron, on drugs/alcohol, who ran on and confronted/brushed against Smalling, and the Shearer comment on MOD.
On a different topic, would love to create a montage of the time ex footballers have said ” he felt a contact”, ” he was touched and was entitled to go down”…..especially Manure and Liverpool ex players.
I have always been of the opinion that for a challenge to be deemed worthy of a penalty the judgement (And there’s the problem) is did it bring a grown adult ( not Bambi) down with its force?
Chas. Fine write up, thank you.
It was an excellent, entertaining end-to-end first half in which we looked very competitive. The weather in the second half must have had some effect.
Surprised to see the salad dodger, Moss give us a questionable penalty, but we had the game won anyway.
As RA says, a beautiful morning.
That ‘brushing offence’ is only justified by the pundits when Pool, Manure etc, are involved.
Yesterday, the Arsenal penalty was …… not a penalty, because Lacazette went down ‘too easily’.
LBG. Bang on about penalties. The pundits always hide behind the” players running at high speed are more vulnerable”. That is cobblers, they are cheating and for the sake of the game it has to stop.
Also, I am fed up with seeing players who are touched in the chest rolling on the ground with their hands over their faces as though they have been hit by ‘Enry’s ‘Ammer.
Wish I was joining you at Chelters, I went to every day of the Festival for many years. It is a fab day out.
A very enjoyable read Chas, thanks.
We’re coming for you
We’re coming for you
This MR oozes fun and quality analysis, Chas. One of your best. I especially liked this fine sentence: “As it turned out, it was a penalty of supreme ease as De Gea was still going the wrong way from Xhaka’s swerver in the first half.”
Excelent match report, thank you chas.
Emery has to be my motm …. not only for the way he set up the team and the tactics he devised, but because he defied accepted logic and put together a selection of players that previously seemed unable to form a cohesive team.
I’m very pleased for Xhaka, and with Sokratis and wardrobe in the side, we can’t be bullied any more. Also I agree, it was very good to see Mesut putting in a shift and working to the team script. Fourth place (or possibly third) is now in our grasp, I’m sure UE will continue to rotate the players, let’s hope he can continue to find the magic formula for the remaining fixtures.
Ooooh, just noticed, good crests.
Mmmmm, what else could be up there that rhymes with crests, now there’s a thought.
There would probably be an irate email from a female complaining about her crests being used without permission.
I am in a very jovial mood this morning.
I had not noticed until LB mentioned it, Chas, but I am pleased you’ve got your crests out for the boys.
Fantastic game, fantastic atmosphere, fantastic post. Nothing to add except that AMN can play well when asked to move forward.
Love this photo that Big Sok has put up in a tweet.
It looks as though he’s launched Rashford into the air.
Kos may have had a bite of the cherry before him and Wardrobe is waiting on the wings for someone to pass to him. 🙂
Emery is really good at preparing big games in the EPL it seems. Ilike the fact that he is also asking the team to be tactically more flexible and mature. We are still conceding too many chances IMHO. Thankfully, Leno has improved and he is making good saves. I think we know who our players are for next season but there will be some big shoes to fill as Cech, Ramsey and potentially Ozil will be leaving us…
Bellerin, RECRUIT, Holding, RECRUIT, Kos, Sok, Kola, RECRUIT
RECRUIT, LT, Guendouzi, AMN
RECRUIT, Mikhy (?); Iwobi, Reiss Neilsson
Auba, Laca, RECRUIT
7 recruits – 3 starters (CB, DM, CM or FW) + 4 players to improve the squad depth and width (in terms of play)
Rien ne va plus, faîtes vos jeux…
“Boy oh Boy” the posts just keep getting better, well done Chas.
Our team all have double personalities and they keep us waiting until game time to show us what personality they will be – it would make a classic episode for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I think I know what personality we would all prefer to see in every game – the frustrating part is that have all it takes when they turn on the after burners.
Just loved the game yesterday it was my highlight of the season.
After the game I went for a walk and slipped on the icy sidewalk landing on my already damaged left arm – ouch!!
French league players that could be targeted:
– Costil (or Ruffier), Lala/Meunier, Ndombele, Pepe, Sarr
Emery really likes Ndombele and has also had a close look at Pepe and Sarr. Sarr is affordable, the other two are valued respectively at 60 Mln and 80 Mln EUR…
These are our 2018/19 stats against the Top 6 – they are the best I can remember. I especially like the results against Man U and the Spuds – those results may end up with us staying in the top 4.
Against W D L GF GA GD Pts
Chelsea 1 0 1 4 3 1 3
Liverpool 0 1 1 2 6 -4 1
Man C 0 0 2 1 5 -4 0
Man U 1 1 0 4 2 2 4
Spurs 1 1 0 5 3 2 4
Totals: 3 3 4 16 19 -3 12
Sorry it collapsed.
There’s no doubt that Emery has made us more competitive against the big teams. We have only been blown away once this season at Liverpool, but we were in with a chance in all the other games. I would imagine that total of 12 points would be even slightly higher if the City and Chelsea games weren’t the first 2 matches of our season. They definitely came a little too early for us.
Our issue this year though has been those away games at mid table sides. Defeats at West Ham and Southanmpton, and draws at Brighton, Palace and Spurs have proved costly. Whilst we don’t have any of the top 6 left, we still have potentially tough games away at Wolves, Watford, Leicester, Burnley and Everton. If we are to finish in the top 4 then Emery must rectify the problem that is our away form. I just hope that some of those sides are already thinking of their summer holidays by the time we play them.
We are in total agreement FGG, our away game performances against (seemingly) lower level clubs has been our downfall, including the game against Rennais. However it is refreshing that we are, at least, holding our own against the top 5/6 teams.
If the away trend is not reversed we will have little or no chance of a 4th place finish – but we may have to finish 3rd in order to qualify for the 2019/20 CL.
FGG – we need to win all our games now to ensure top 4 finish. I think the squad is capable of doing so, even away from home BUT at the same time, they can fudge up big time…
Newastle at home – should be a win but will be a tough one.
Everton away – I have a good feeling about this one.
Watford away – a tough one. Draw is a possibility
Crystal Palace – a tough one again.
Leicestter away – A draw would be good
Bright and Burnley – wins are in order
So my prediction is 17 points max and 11 points minimum…Let us see what we get
If the admins decide that this stinks then they will delete it…………..if not read on.
A fart it is a pleasant thing,
It gives the belly ease,
It warms the bed in winter
And suffocates the fleas.
A fart can be quiet,
A fart can be loud,
Some leave a powerful,
A fart can be short,
Or a fart can be long,
Some farts have been known To sound like a song……
A fart can create
A most curious medley,
A fart can be harmless,
Or silent, and deadly.
A fart might not smell,
While others are vile,
A fart may pass quickly,
Or linger a while……
A fart can occur in a number of places,
And leave everyone there,
With strange looks on their faces.
From wide-open prairie,
To small elevators,
A fart will find all of us sooner or later.
But farts are all bad,
Is simply not true.
We must never forget…
Sweet old farts like you!
Kinda brings a tear to your eye – doesnt it?
Another very solid assessment Chas!
Always have like AMN-what did that kid eat at halftime? Spinach is my guess.
Oh, the shot from Xhaka; would like to see how much it moved and the speed of it’s flight. I do not think many keepers would have stopped that one, as de gea was thinking near post, like a lot of left footers’ would have tried from that positions, and de gea tried to cheat and lean that way and the ball looked like it was going that way coming off his foot, but it moved left to right and left de gea in quick sand.
The game evened out I believe as Laca missed a tap in and lukaku missed from close range. Leno had fred’s shot covered all day.
Total team victory and still can’t Juve picked up 2 of our better players for less than 10 mill, what a scam that!
Thanks Chas, great report, and also a thanks to BR and GN5 for the prior ones.
An excellent win. We rode our luck at times but I think that is the case in all these big games and our last ditch defending and the speed and awareness with which we reacted to the dangerous moments was committed and top notch, which probably made the difference.
If we had been this committed on Thursday we would likely have left France with a draw, or at worst a 1 goal deficit with an away goal. When you see what we are capable of and that we can play with the commitment and mental determination that is the hallmark of a top side then performances like Thursday night become more annoying.
If young players like AMN and Gouzi can iron out those casual ball watching moments and remain more focused with a bust a gut to attitude for the team attitude then we have a couple of excellent prospects on our hands. If Xhaka could iron out those costly passes then he could be a fine player removing the need for any further CM additions.
Although we have been a yoyo team this season, from one performance to the next, it is hard to argue against UE’s 60 point tally with 8 games to go at this stage in his debut season. We may be unlikely to get all the remaining points available, but a potential 84 point tally is staring us in the face. We are looking in a strong position considering who Totts, Utd and Chavs still have to play.
Also when you think back on last weekend, the referees and linesmen had a potential huge say in the top 4 race, and not in our favour…… now there’s a funny thing. It is going to be 2 from 4 for 3rd and 4th spot, and as it stands the teams have:
Tot – 61pts, +25GD
Ars – 60pts, +24GD
Utd – 58pts, +18GD
Che – 57pts, +19GD (with a game in hand)
However we know that Totts should never have had a penalty, so even with us missing ours it should have been 3 points to us. Also Saints had 2 massive shouts for pens that weren’t given…..at Old Trafford funnily enough….that should have been at least a draw in that game, so referees and officials have created an artificial and unfair 4 point difference between us and Utd and 3 points with us and Spurs.
When the champions league is so financially important it is criminal that this is allowed to happen and not enough is said about that by all these “expert pundits” who want to dissect every minute detail that suits them but look away from talking about important stuff that doesn’t suit them. The revised table would be:
Ars – 62pts, +25GD
Tot – 60pts, +24GD
Che – 57pts, +19GD (with a game in hand)
Utd – 56pts, +17GD
We should have been in an even stronger position for the top 4. I hope that last weekends poor officiating doesn’t become relevant.
GB. If the referees weren’t biased we would win the title most years 😀
Already looking ahead for next match in EL vs Rennes (at home).
Sokratis & Lacazette shall be serving their bans. Emery could deploy a back-4 (AMN-Koscielny-Monreal-Kolasinac) and return Mkhitaryan to starting line-up (depending on his recovery from a minor back injury) in place of Lacazette. Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil & Aubameyang to retain their starting spots, Torreira takes the other midfield spot.
We are chasing for a win in the final result for this match, the lesser mistakes likely made in the earlier periods the better. Which can also help calm down nerves and give consistency in our attacking plays to craft out good scoring chances.
Let us win that next and qualify for the QF, which will wrap up our March’s schedule.
Listened to episode 1 of this today and found it enthralling. The Hurricane Tapes.
And of course there is a great song by Bobby Dylan on the man.
Birmingham’s moron who swung a punch at Grealish jailed for 14 weeks and even better lives in Cock Hill Lane, Birmingham.
Very interesting comment @ 3:42 —
I, too, get pretty angry at some of the Lino and Ref decisions we have suffered this season (and earlier seasons too, truth be told) but that is not because I believe the refs are in some anti-Arsenal conspiracy or simply hate us.
There has to be some incompetence in their decision making caused by some momentary lapse in their knowledge or understanding of the Laws of Football.
In addition, the powers that be are making those Laws more dependent on subjective interpretation, rather than the straightforward black and white actualité of the facts.
Look at the nonsense leading p to the Spuds penalty against us.
In the past, any player who was between the player with the ball and the opposition GK was deemed offside, wherever he stood on the pitch.
Then it was changed so that the ‘offside’ player had to be ‘active’ in the Ref’s opinion — see interpretation rears its ugly head, and facts became secondary to what individual referees believe is going on.
Worse still, that particular decision was agreed with by some ex-refs, because the ‘activity’ happened after the kick was taken, because Kane was factually offside at that time, but not interfering with the play until after he was pushed by Mustafi. Got it ?
So why are the Laws factually based when they are being superseded by this touchy/feely interpretation?
Ah, well the interpretation part will be replaced next season, although some Refs are already starting to use the new Law already, when it comes to handball in the area.
The current Law says that handball, wherever it occurs has to be deliberate. In fact that seems to be asking the ref to read the player’s mind — but never mind the ref’s ‘interpretaton’ they are going to bring back a ‘factual’ Law.
All the Ref needs to award a penalty next season (and now too — going by the penalty awarded to Manure in the CL last week when they got the goal to get through 2 : 3) is whether or not the ball hit the defenders arm.
So it is a no brainer that opposition players are going to hit the ball deliberately at the defenders in the penalty area to try and get the penalty given. Still with it?
Which brings me to the point, at last. As I said above, some ex-Refs agreed with the Ref in awarding the Spuds the Kane penalty, while other ex-Refs disagreed, so it is no wonder that Refs get things wrong, not out of malice, but because in the heat of the moment they themselves get confused.
The International Football Referees Association amend the Laws of the game — but who the heck appoints these numpties who don’t know their facts from there ‘feelings’.
Now look GB, I can hear your ‘ZZZZzzzzzzz’ up here in Many Land. 😜
OK, I am claiming a typo gremlin above — the Manure result was 1 : 3 – so they got through on the away goals rule.
I think the founders of football Laws are turning in their graves wondering what ‘gremlins’ [see what I did there?] introduced that weird Law that allows a draw to become a win, depending on the geographical location of where the goals were scored.
More bow locks.
No, No. No — not Many Land —- MANC Land – the computer is a ref evidently and wants to screw up my comments!! 😜
Hi RA, and a comment length worthy of you know who 🙂
I think I agree that refs don’t necessarily go out of their way to bias against us on a regular basis but the punditry bias is very obvious. I do however think that an elite minority of clubss receive highly questionable and favourable decisions and if we happen to be playing them then quite often we decisions will be biased against us.
I think there is both a domestic and European extreme elite bracket that will always see those clubs receive the favourable decisions, and we are unfortunately in the next tier down, still an elite club, but not quite in the extreme elite. We are almost the lesser royals to the headline royals.
Domestically I actually think only Utd are in that bracket and all the other top 6 are considered the lesser royals. I don’t think I have ever seen a club get so much favouritism over so many years and I think it would be a frightening can of worms to open if some closer EPL seasons and key questionable referee decisions made were more scrutinised, and how they impacted points gained.
I think Utd’s “favourable” treatment then carries over into Europe where they join Real, Barca and possibly Bayern. I have often felt that the powers that be just don’t want these teams eliminated if it can be avoided and that some decisions over the years have a pre-agreed script. I still can’t think of a more obvious attempt to give an extreme elite team an advantage than RVP’s sending off against Barca.
As far as Kane’s interfering or not with play, for me he has to be. Although a stupid decision to barge him, Mustaffi wouldn’t do it unless Kane was actively and dangerously in a position to attack the ball. Mustaffi’s ill advised decision was purely because Kane was an active part of that play. If the ball had been going 10m over their heads then he wouldn’t have bothered trying to nudge him.
I am interested in your interpretation of the new clarification of the handball rule! I cannot find any reference to the change you describe. I can only find change with with regard to the “disqualification” of goals made or created by accidental contact with the hand. My understanding is the ” deliberate” part of the law remains. Please correct if I am in error.
Aubameyang doesn’t score against top 6 team well guess I was right if we actually play good he can
Shame I missed the game came down with the flu
Here is an article that covers the Handball changes, and other changes with effect from 2019/20 (tho not the one I originally saw),
Goals scored or created with the use of an accidental handball will not stand from next season onwards, the International FA Board (Ifab) have confirmed.
The changes mean that a free-kick will be awarded when a goal or clear chance occurs from a handball.
Ifab technical director David Elleray explained the changes at their AGM in Aberdeen.
“Deliberate handball remains an offence,” Elleray stressed.
“In the past we’ve managed to improve the laws by focusing on outcome rather than intent.
“What we are looking at particularly in attacking situations is where the player gets a clear unfair advantage by gaining possession or control of the ball, as a result of it making contact with their hand or arm.”
Standard of Scottish refereeing “very high” – Infantino
So what has changed?
The changes mean gaining control or possession and then scoring as a consequence of handling the ball will not be allowed – neither will a goal scored directly from handling the ball, regardless of intent.
Another change to the laws of the game means that if the player’s arms extend beyond a “natural silhouette”, handball will be given, even if it is perceived as accidental.
Elleray says this is an effort to put an end to defenders placing their arms behind their backs in fear of giving away a free-kick.
“We’ve changed it to say the body has a certain silhouette,” said Elleray. “If the arms are extended beyond that silhouette then the body is being made unnaturally bigger, with the purpose of it being a bigger barrier to the opponent or the ball.
“Players should be allowed to have their arms by their side because it’s their natural silhouette.”
In other changes approved by Ifab, substitutes will have to leave the pitch at the nearest goalline or touchline instead of walking to their technical area in a bid to stop time wasting.
Additional approved law changes included measures to deal with attacking players causing problems in the defensive wall, giving a dropped ball in certain situations when the ball hits the referee and the goalkeeper only being required to have one foot on the line at a penalty kick.
There was an ‘official’ IFAB paper released, but it’s too late to look it up tonight. All will no doubt be revealed in due course.
We are in agreement, GB.
With regard to the ‘Kane’ penalty, the time line of what happened from the ‘Offside” but not active, to the no longer offside, but fouled (by Mustafi) resulting in a penalty being given.
It is not easy to understand — as proved by some ex-professional Refs agreeing —- and just as many disagreeing.
Maybe VAR, next season, will not help as much as some of us had hoped. 😏
Zidane rejoins Madrid as Head coach and is set to test Chelsea s resolve by bidding for Kante and Hazard while also looking to add Mane or Mahrez to his squad with Marcel9, BaLE, Vazquez and Modric on their way out still…Ozil may be approached as Isco may be sold to raise funds….
Courtoiz – Recruit, Ramo, Varane, Recruit – Ndombele, Kante, Kross – Mane, Benzema, Hazard