United TWO good for abysmal Arsenal
United TWO good for abysmal Arsenal
It was supposed to be a spectacle. It was anything but. Only one team decided to show up, the other was caught napping. Maybe it was the fear of another spanking, but Arsenal were simply pathetic, reducing this match to a one-sided affair. There was no courage, there was no will, with their attacking nous having long left through the window leaving its clothes behind.
Don’t be deceived by the score line. The 2-1 Man United victory shows a tight game. It wasn’t. The Gunners should have been brutally punished. Sir Fergie’s men should have hit four or five, or even six, to make the scores reflective of the state of play. The Mancunians didn’t even need to hit second gear to be all over the Arsene Wenger’s men, such was their confidence.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Robin van Persie was booed by the visiting fans when his name was read out. He silenced them with a third minute opener. The 24 million pound man took advantage of his successor Thomas Vermaelen’s weak clearance to strike home with his weaker right foot. He chose to respect his former employers by not celebrating the goal, but the visiting fans couldn’t care about the gesture, hurling vitriol at him throughout the match. So much for being an idol.
Predictably, Andre Santos was the visitors’ weakest link. Antonio Valencia made mockery out of the left back, constantly vindicating the fans’ thoughts that he (Santos) is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s no surprise that the opening goal came from his end, it’s no wonder that the Red Devils had chosen his flank as the best attacking route.
Wayne Rooney dragged his penalty wide, Valencia made a meal out of a simple tap in, whereas RVP couldn’t score when one-on-one with Vito Mannone, but their profligacy in front of goal wasn’t punished. Actually, it made any watching fan think they were about to witness another devastating defeat. That didn’t come. Only Patrice Evra added his name to the goal scoring list with a header, a surprise given his physical stature against the Arsenal defense.
Thiery Henry, Gilberto Silva, Sol Campbell, Patrick Viera, Robert Pires, et al, must have been shuddering in disbelief. In their heydays, under the same Arsene Wenger, they would have stormed into United’s yard with ease and walked away with victory. Right now, the Gunners are a far cry from the Invincibles and have been reduced to afterthoughts. They are a good side alright, but good enough to only compete for fourth spot on the grid.
Only Mannone, Santi Carzola and Per Mertesacker deserve plaudits, with Carzola curling in a sumptuous goal at the death. The rest of the players were simply awful. For all their possession play, they had more ball than United, the Gunners had only two shots on target that came in the second half’s injury time. David de Gea would have been better off seated in the stands.
Jack Wilshere wanted to make a contribution to the game, and he did; his red card, after a second bookable offense, left his side with a mountain to climb. Lukas Podolski was anonymous, while Aaron Ramsey shouldn’t have started at the expense of Theo Walcott. Not that the latter made much of a difference.
Anyone who thinks there’s still a chance for the Emirates outfit to challenge for top honors this season must be deluded. The red behemoth was too good and too dangerous for Le Prof’s men. I repeat, they should have won by more, but three points are sufficient. Five wins out of six tough games is not an easy thing. That’s why they are the first name to be mentioned by any title challengers.
And finally, for the first time this season, Sir Alex’s men find themselves atop the grid. Chelsea and Man City couldn’t match United’s victory. The Blues visited Liberty Stadium, took the lead via a Victor Moses goal, only for Swansea to silence the visitors with an equalizer as the game journeyed to an end.
As for the Citizens, for all their lethal forwards in their ranks, they ended up in barren stalemate against West Ham at Upton Park. But Tottenham found their White Hart Lane a lonely street, as they were beaten 1-0 by lowly Wigan, in a game the visitors should have won by a bigger margin. Thanks to Brad Friedel, the score was kept respectful. Hugo Lloris must be finding it tough playing second fiddle to a 40-year old man.