It was Arsenal vs Manchester United at the emirates. After a forgettable first round fixture where arsenal had that ignominious defeat 8-2 defeat.
The match started off well with the early play being dominated by the United players who had clearly come in with instructions to attack the make shift full backs of Arsenal. Our injury problems are well documented and it served as a good boost to have the current Mr.dependable vermaelen aka Verminator back. Though he didn’t play in his preferred CB position. He was the Lb for the day and we almost had a stoke city -ish defence with 4 CB’s. This against a United team which has always been famous for its wing play. Alex Ferguson went in with a classic 4-4-2 with Rooney and Welbeck up front to exploit the lack of pace of the towering Mertesacker. They even had 3 wingers though Giggs played a central role.
ManU took the lead through a cross from the right by Giggs. Our wings were terribly exposed on the counter and an overlapping run by Giggs was followed up by a dangerous cross which was headed in by Valencia who cut in through the left flank. Marking him was supposed to be Vermaelen’s job who was caught napping.
The half time break saw the introduction of the young Nico Yennaris (interestingly he happened to be the first player with some Asian blood in him to play for Arsenal ) in the right back position as a replacement for Johan Djourou. The change was a good one as he fitted right into the plans and managed to keep Nani silent for most of the match while offering good passing and dribbling options on the flank.
And then there was the man of the match Alex “the OX” Chamberlain. The youngster in his first league start for arsenal absolutely terrorized the ManU right back Rafael. It was only a matter of time before he made a telling contribution . That pass to RVP was just telepathic ! The vision defied his age. And what a great finish from rvp to make up for his earlier blinder.
Truly indeed the second half was a performance of pure pleasure by Arsenal as we dominated the possession. But that old lack of killing a match off returned to haunt us again.
But before ManU scored there was this interesting sideshow involving Arshavin, Wenger and OX . It so happened that Le Prof decide to substitute Ox for Arsh. This was met with wide spread jeers from the audience and even RVP didnt seem too thrilled about it. But like Wenger pointed out later he has made around 50000 subs in his life! And whatever happened to In Arsene We Trust.
And so conveniently for all those moaners who haven’t liked Arshavin this season he was partly to blame for the goal.
WHY? oh thats the 15mil dollar question isn’t it?
Earlier criticism of the pint-sized forward was that he doesn’t track back nor has good work rate. In this math he actually helped out in defense and was right at hand when valencia was free down the left flank. Thats what winger do ! When they dont have the ball they hound the opponent winger hoping the full back tidies it up for his team. SO this begs the question ! Where was Verminator? Wasnt he supposed to be the LB ? But then isn’t that how the world works! The darling never gets questioned and people make up excuses to protect him ! Honestly even i feel he was out of his depth playing at left back because he is a centre back but why not just stay on the flank when they attack the flank. So hence all the blame falls on the shoulders of Arsh cos he didn’t get a tackle in. As far as i remember he pushed the ball far enough out of the way of valencia that, like mentioned above , it would have been an easy job to clear up for a left back. And then there was the matter of having 3 cb’s in the box but still allowing welbeck to have a shot .
Szczesny has been a solid wall at the back for us this season and he has showed great composure and ability to evolve as one of the most promising young keepers of the league. But I feel that he charges unnecessarily at times leaving him in a vulnerable position. It happened versus Swansea for the 2nd and 3rd goal and was again repeated for the welbeck goal. Not that its his fault per se but as a keeper he should be more solid on his line .
The past month has been dark for Arsenal. But we have the one man who is capable of pulling us out of it. He is immensely experienced and is an excellent talent scout . He knows what to do ! As evidenced by the masterstroke of signing monsieur Henry on loan to provide short-term cover. This is the time for US fans to rally behind the team and show our support for the Wenger mission ! Because come what may IN ARSENE WE TRUST .