Sunday, 17 May 2009

16 days too late Arsenal perform at Old Trafford

This, was typical Arsenal.

Turning up for the wrong game.

The Setanta man said that Arsenal looked like they were there for a training game when he saw them in the tunnel.

How untrue that was: for 90 minutes we made United chase the game and be limited to long-range Ronaldo free-kicks. Lukasz Fabianski hadn't a save to make.

What a shame we couldn't have played like this in the Champions League semi-final - as Gooners, we professed happiness after the first leg. But it wasn't happiness about losing one nil. I read a piece from somebody saying they would have taken 1-0 before the game. No real fan would of. We argued we were happy but that was only because we thought we'd got out of jail free.

Almunia saved our skin last time around and we hoped a bouyant Grove could cheer us to Rome. It didn't happen.

But half the reason it didn't happen is because United came into the second leg in the ascendancy.

Half the reason for that was our insipid first leg performance.

Shame we couldn't have played well in the game that mattered.

For posterity's sake, Cesc hit a post and we generally outpassed United. I'm not going to criticise us for not breaking down the United defence: it is very strong and it's not like we threw the kitchen sink at them.

It really was a passing masterclass against what was on the day a mediocre United performance. But in many ways, this result was emblematic of why United are champions, whereas we're 18 points behind.

Fundamentally, what it comes down to is efficiency: United have won 12 games 1-0 and they take their chances.

In a one-off match, I don't think they're the best team in the League and I think that's shown in that they took 5 points from 6 matches against the rest of the big 4.

But the strength of their squad means it doesn't make a difference. They come through eventually.

Ultimately, that is for financial reasons. At Arsenal we struggled to get £12million to buy Andrey Arshavin; United spent £16 million on Zoran Tosic and let him sit in the reserves - the examples of Nani, Berbatov and Hargreaves add further weight to this argument.

To win the league, we will have to be unbelievably consistent. To do that, Arsene will have to get his cheque book out.

Yet, having said that, this match may have brought benefit for these players: seeing a trophy blatantly waved in their faces must have hurt even more. If they can channel that hurt into their performances next season, things could change.

This match showed that in a one-off match, we're just as good as United, Chelsea, or Liverpool. The trick now, is to instill a good enough winning mentality, that we can take that forward and be sure we'll beat the smaller teams.

I don't think this match represented a 'glimmer of hope' or anything like that because it's evident what Arsenal can do on their day. The only problem is, that it never seems to be their day.

Keep the faith,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was the sky sports man, not the setanta man.